Domenico Dolce's Sicilian roots have been the USP of the business he's built with Stefano Gabbana, and it's fair to say that the pair's fortunes have often seemed tied to the degree to which they celebrate those roots. Molto Sicily, molto success. By which formula, their latest collection—moltissimo Sicily—might be their most successful. Because this time, Dolce and Gabbana didn't just cop the attitude of a sexy widow or pinstriped snappy dresser, they imported a village, lock, stock, and old stone wall. Or at least that's what it felt like. A list of the "protagonists" showed that the cast, nearly all of them non-models, were actually drawn from a number of Sicilian towns and villages, but it still felt like you were watching generations of one tight community marching with proud gravity down the catwalk to a tune of a traditional village band. And the parade packed the kind of authentic emotional punch that is a rare and beautiful thing in fashion.

It also inspired the designers to create clothes as desirable as any they've made in the past. The simplest way to make this point is by comparing this collection with the opulent gilded arrogance of the last. Here, there were humility and charm instead: kids wearing their tightly belted hand-me-downs with insouciance and pride; adults, unassuming but equally proud, in three-piece suits that had the well-worn look of Sunday best. The fact that they were actually cut from wool or linen gauze in veil-fine layers was a reminder that this was, after all, a fashion show we were watching.

But the illusions that fashion is founded on seemed to be suspended here. It wasn't just because the woven striped cotton shirts and linens with their raw hems, the awning-stripe jackets and souvenir prints on shirts and tees felt so... real. It was also because, given the season at hand, everything here spoke of summer, infused with the yearning that average joes feel for sun and sea. The customary eight-packed Dolce hunks in trunks looked quite out of place, by comparison.

Only one caveat: What the hell are Domenico and Stefano going to do to top this? Has Sicily finally surrendered all its treasures?