Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have found a perfect formula: Sicily as an inspiration for clothes modeled on the catwalk by Sicilians themselves. The sweet authenticity of the idea has powered their last few collections for men, and when cynics in today's audience sighed, "Oh no, not again," you wanted to slap them. Or torture them by passing on Gabbana's confident declaration: "There is so much in Sicily, we could be doing this forever."
It was Sicily's Greece-inflected mythology that informed today's show: Zeus and Apollo—one a force for creation, the other the apogee of beauty. "Us," Gabbana said with an ironic chuckle. The duo sure needs a laugh right now, as their legal woes mount. So, when Gabbana said, "Fashion is freedom," his words had a particularly personal resonance.
And that's the way the presentation played out: as fantasy, as escape. The soundtrack was Ennio Morricone's music for Cinema Paradiso. No surprises there. Against a backdrop that was purest memory—a huge, gnarled olive tree—the designers alternated young men in suits so sharply tailored they needed stretch to fit, with other young men in shorts and short-sleeve tops printed with classical scenery. Zeus vs. Apollo. That's a little reductive. The tailoring statement included slim suits in raffia and shantung silk, and jackets, trousers, and shirts in a matchy-matchy symphony of stripes. And the model casting actually united Zeus and Apollo. Domenico and Stefano wanted a modern Ulysses, someone slightly more heroic than the boys from the village who have peopled their last few catwalks.
Those model castings have become a kind of reality show in Sicily. Word goes out that Dolce & Gabbana is on the prowl, and Twitter comes alive with kids chasing their moment of catwalk glory, which tracks right back to Gabbana's statement about fashion and freedom. The power to dream is fashion's greatest cliché, but when it comes alive, as it did on the Dolce catwalk today, you just can't beat it. Which was clearly the height of feeling that spurred the exultantly naked man who evaded security as he tore down the catwalk at the very end of the show. Streaking lives!