After last season's print-on-print delirium, this collectionan ode to the iconic images of the late, very great photographer Helmut Newtonwas a remarkably sober offering from Dolce & Gabbana. But in the hands of Domenico and Stefano, of course, sobriety is a relative concept; there was no shortage of razzle-dazzle and built-in wardrobe malfunction.
Like Newton in the seventies and eighties, the boys presented a woman who was ultra-chic, groomed, powerfuland ripe for sexual misadventure. Small wonder that pride of place in the audience was reserved for Fanny Ardant, the agelessly beautiful French actress and sometime Newton subject, striking in the designers' shapely white pencil-skirt power suit. Or that the amazonian Nadja Auermann, another Newton favorite, strode the runway, more svelte and dramatic than ever.
Many of Newton's strongest pictures from this period feature the clothes of Saint Laurent (that's Yves, not Tom, for those with fashion-history deficit disorder), and there were several explicit, if playful, homages to that Parisian masterfrom the deep-green boxy fox chubby to the prim-but-sexy chiffon-and-lace full-sleeved cocktail frocks to an evening parade of skinny satin or velvet tuxedo pantsuits with a flash of lacy camisole beneath. Perhapsprior to any official pronouncement about Tom Ford's replacement chez Saint LaurentMessrs. Dolce and Gabbana are auditioning for the role?
In the meantime, they are having plenty of fun in Milan, subverting old-fashioned elegance with their own brand of highly sexed style.
Even in a season of luxe effects, their fox-cuffed short evening coat, solid with diamond and topaz crystal beading and fit for a latter-day Marlene Dietrich, was eye-poppingly glamorous. Inventive notions included simply chic sweaters and satin shell tops garlanded with trompe l'oeil embroidered necklaces, houndstooth skirts inset with godets of naughty black lace, and a formal black coat that flashed open to reveal a lingerie slip beneath. As the girlsincluding Elvis' angelic granddaughter Riley Keough, in demure black velvetclustered on the orchid-pink leatherette banquettes of the Regine's-inspired disco set, one model sped past in a high-neck, long-sleeve black lace gown that looked conservative enough for Mrs. Bush. Until she turned her back, revealing the sheer, unlined lace back that flashed an emerald-green bra and panty set. Perfect for the next Super Bowl.