The fashion duo used playing cards, vegetables, flower patterns, and hearts to give youthful dew to a familiar image.
Winsome, pouting, delicately made up and hair prettily decorated, the flower maidens walked the length of the Dolce & Gabbana store in Milan, after tumbling out of a big bus – and stepping right back in again after the show.
Outside, a boarded entrance announced, in typical ironic D & G style “The Secret Show: Don’t Look, Don’t Talk, Don’t Ask”. Not, that is, unless you were a good-looking millennial, especially a young woman, but men were included.
As the same crowd was hanging out in the front row at the official show the following day, you have to ask not only how Domenico and Stefano can find the time, energy and money to hold a private client show and an official presentation in less than 24 hours but, also, are they on to something?
“We – me and Domenico – need to find something new and to go forward, this is the most important thing, but we must enjoy it at the same time,” said Stefano, as he and Domenico ran around backstage pointing out a peas-in-a-pod pattern or just-hatched chicks as a shirt print. A model might balance on her head both a flowery tiara and a playing card. While the designer himself picked up giant red glasses and tried them on.
Was this Alice’s Fashion Adventures in Wonderland? That would be too obvious a way to describe how the Italian duo brought in these merry patterns, some of which suggested the mysteries of tarot cards. But they also included pea and cabbage shaped buttons from this magical vegetable garden.
“It starts with the card game but that is just the beginning,” continued Stefano. “The message is: beauty is love. We love to enjoy ourselves and give joy to other people.”
None of this sounded – or looked – so revolutionary. Everything seemed to go in familiar order, starting with black, only-in-Italy outfits. Those iconic, body-conscious garments – dense and lacy, were soon replaced by touches of beautifully crafted kitsch, beginning with the arrival of a white T-shirt and clingy skirt printed with ‘Amore’ and ‘Love’.
But the most arresting dress was smothered in playing cards, just as the backdrop to the show was a pack of cards.
Did the duo want to lure those sweet-faced millennials to gambling? The effect was much more mysterious, in a light-hearted way rather than wicked. It was as if these cards were a touch of fun, along with the zebra prints and apple-shaped earrings; the dresses printed with everyday fish and vegetables; or diamond patterns to accommodate an image of the Queen of Hearts. Most of the focus was on flowers and vegetables.
But as ‘the boys’ – as they are known – galloped around the changing room, they pulled out more of their madcap ideas: lemons and cabbages as buttons; Chinese-cut pyjamas with harlequin shoes; a thermos contained in a beach bag; a cherubim here, a carrot there. And, above all, rose-strewn outfits embroidered ‘Amore’ (love).
Dolce & Gabbana hit on their fashion style at least a decade ago. They are lowering the target age with this cry of ‘Millennials forever!’ Let’s hope they look, love – and buy.