Dolce & Gabbana, the last of the major Italian luxury labels on the Milan Fashion Week calendar, closed things out on a high note with an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink extravaganza that felt like five fashion shows in one, with 127 looks (by comparison, Giorgio Armani’s “Rhapsody in Blue” runway show the night before totaled 102 and that included both men’s and women’s looks) and pulled inspiration from menswear, Renaissance painters, Italian nobility and dessert foods.
Dubbed “Eleganza,” the runway show unspooled against a backdrop draped in red velvet, as a tuxedo-clad announcer stood to one side talking through collection details and various inspirations as the models hit the catwalk.
That’s how we know that pastel silk dressing gowns in 1940s-style silhouettes had a pastel color palette inspired by marzipan and pistachio sweet treats, that range of printed and embroidered florals — for the designers, at least — symbolized the Virgin Mary, that the rich brocades riffed on portraiture of Italian noblewomen as painted by Leonardo, Raphael and Botticelli while the art on the front of some dresses was a nod to surrealist art.
The result was an exuberant, joy-filled collection from start to finish and top (in the form of flyaway ribbon fascinators or giant gilded honeybee headpieces) to bottom (shoes festooned with large glittery stones) that, perhaps because of its sheer size, managed to key into just about every runway trend we’d noticed bubbling up since the beginning of New York Fashion Week including the strong shoulder (Fendi, Prada, Bottega Veneta), the generously proportioned trouser leg (Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Victoria Beckham) and the cape silhouette (Marc Jacobs, Max Mara) rendered here in eye-catching gold brocade.
Despite all the ultra-feminine looks — the fuzzy-hemmed nighties, the trio of wedding dresses, and the strapless, floral A-line dresses with silk bow at the belt line — some of the most memorable looks were the ones that mined traditional menswear motifs; sharp, tailored suits with strong shoulders paired with wide-brimmed fedoras, shawl-collar, ankle-length, three-button tuxedo dresses, hound’s-tooth checks paired with peppy polka dots. Of particular note was a one-shouldered dress that looked as it had been created by simply wrapping and draping a bolt of glen plaid fabric over a bustier.