Dolce & Gabbana
January 11, 2014 Milan
So the single plaintive olive tree that backdropped last season's show was replaced by thrones, suits of armor, and regal portraiture. And the casting moved away from all-sorts Sicilian townsfolk to a more idealized masculinity—for which read "handsome models" (half naked at times, in the Dolce tradition of male objectification). Some of them wore coronets and bejeweled gauntlets like young lords. They also sported oversize sweats printed with images of the Norman kings who invaded Sicily in the eleventh century.
Yes, it was still Sicily that determined the character of the collection, but the designers found a way to widen the frame of reference by drawing inspiration from the posse of hardass northerners who swooped in a millenium ago to reshape the island of Dolce's birth. The churches they built, for instance, were reproduced as images on a peacoat and a velvet suit, their saints were also printed on velvet, and a print of their suits of armor decorated a spectacular shearling. The hoods that they would have worn under the helmets of that armor were remodeled in embroidered wool.
But Domenico and Stefano were much too canny to surrender wholeheartedly to history. Those printed sweats? A consummately proportioned blend of past and present. There were plenty of the sharply tailored suits that define the Dolce ethos: double-breasted, nipped waist, lapels stitched flat for added leanness. And, in the end, it was their own history that captivated them. Tony Ward closed the show in a black velvet tux, a man of some un-lean means wearing his years of experience with all the balls it takes to live that life.