So, in hard times do you opt for discretion or go for broke? Make that Baroque, and directed at Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the question is rhetorical. On Thursday, the two staged a Dolce & Gabbana collection for which they pulled out all the stops and then some in the most audacious display of lavishness we’ve seen so far this season. Some might call it hopeful and others, economically incorrect. Either way, it made for captivating viewing, a joyful spectacle in a calm Milan season. And oh, yes — for all its fantasy, it was filled with gorgeous clothes to wear (though whether anyone will be able to afford them is another matter entirely).


The title: Pajama Baroque. Which perfectly sums up all that went on as the designers spun a tale about a girl who falls asleep in her boyfriend’s pj’s and then dreams of the grandeur of a lost age. Thus, they started with a model in the kind of silk pajamas, Gabbana said before the show, “men can still buy at Bergdorf’s, but not in Italy,” and ended with a girl in a silk pajama top tucked into an enormous metal mesh ballskirt strewn with countless silk chiffon peonies. The intervening dream sequence proved something to behold as Dolce and Gabbana worked that mundane men’s staple, and familiar fashion motif, as no one has before, contrasting its plain silk with breathtaking brocades and its languid lines with serious structure. The tailored clothes were cut geometrically, either in circles or squares, even through the shoulders, creating some looks that veered toward “The Mikado” and others, toward Minnie Mouse, albeit, at her best. Extreme, yes, but beautifully so, and no doubt more conservative jackets reside back in the showroom. Yet not everything required a real-world tone-down: The plentiful reality checks included a chic black pantsuit and jackets and skirts in wispy eyelash embroideries.


As for the finale, a whole bower of flowers on mesh, it positively bloomed, if not with anything resembling commercial viability, then with a bouquet of joie du mode.

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