Southern Italy! Sicily! Carnivals! Zucchini! Chili peppers! Sophia Loren! If that’s not a recipe for a rollicking show, what is?
In case you missed it, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are proud Italians. At times they may stray here or there, from the painterly artist’s studio to the land of the cyber dominatrix, but they always come home. For spring they returned from fall’s celestial travels to southern Italy with something specific on their minds, setting the mood in their theater with a gleefully over-the-top installation of traditional carnival lights.
“There is a connection about food and style of life,” Gabbana said in a preview. “The food is important. It’s a good message. It is happiness; it is life.” For the designers and countless other men, Loren represents a different kind of happiness (maybe two different kinds). Here, they looked to her Fifties heyday in Dino Risi’s “Pane, amore e…” — all to the relentless refrain “Mambo Italiano.” So out came the full-skirted bustier dresses, the hip-wiggler skirts, car coats and a lot of romper action. Familiar, yes, but lovely to look at. The food connection: prints in blown-up, festive imagery of the aforementioned veggies and other cholesterol-lowering varieties. If it’s hard to imagine a mad consumer rush to the farmer’s-market-cum-expensive-retail-rack by any but the hungriest Dolce devotees, there were similar shapes in black. For ladies who live in the middle: pastel floral guipures, some with demonstrative appliqués.
The designers transformed their signature finale into their very own Miss Italia pageant, the entire lineup of girls — all 60 of them — in bejeweled corsetry inspired by, and in group competition with, the surrounding festival lights. Guess which won?