There's something fabulous about the energy of a Dolce & Gabbana show when they let loose their bouncy, celebratory Italianate love of women and fashion. For Spring, they recaptured that freshness in a virtuoso performance that showed them at their very best: blowing modernity into fifties romance and loading their unique culture into accessible clothing.
It was their starting point that let in the air: the idea of freehand painting, which they introduced in a video of young artists splashing broad brush streaks and flowers on bolts of fabric. The designers had been set off, they said, by seeing Julian Schnabel's work in the baroque-contemporary setting of the Gramercy Park Hotel. Back in Milan, they took it further, starting with pale brushstrokes on parchment canvas, cut into an opening sequence of crinolined dresses, caban coats, and a great reiteration of their signature flared trousers. From there, the show became ever more confident, drawing on the cache of experience the duo have stored up over years: It had corseting, inserted into some beautiful covered-up shift dresses; tailoring, seen in oversize brocade tux jackets; and jewel-colored Venetian cut velvets covered with a veiling of tulle. By the end, Dolce & Gabbana had ticked all the boxes of trendtransparency, fairylike silhouettes, a nod to the seventies, and a grand finale of painted organza fifties-fantasy ball gownswithout wavering from their own heartland for a second. Bravo.