Dolce & Gabbana Milan Fashion week F/W 2015
Mamas and bambini—lovely pregnant ladies and their little ones, children’s drawings of their mothers as prints—every little aspect of the whole Dolce & Gabbana love-in smothered social media in its happy embrace the second it happened. Obviously, the show was another of the designers’ heartfelt celebrations of the Italian famiglia—after famously casting grannies in the brand’s advertising campaign, now it’s time for the babies and children. As the Spice Girls sang “Mama, I love you,” on the soundtrack, no sentimental heartstring was left untugged.
What you won’t have read yet is Stefano Gabbana’s thoughts about the clothes, and his conviction that fashion can, should, ought to be about something more than mere commerce. His words, as he dodged between racks and checked in to make sure all was okay in the “nursery” backstage, are worth quoting in full:
“The word mamma is not fashion—of course it’s not,” he said. “It means love, forever. Who do you call when something goes wrong? Your mother. Who do you call when you’re excited? Your mother. We took all our ideas from children—it’s about the family, and love. Fashion is important, yes—but we wanted to give something real, not just cold clothes, clothes, clothes. Everything is so fast now— but via fashion, you can talk about things that have a bigger meaning. Domenico and I have only been doing this for 30 years because we love it. I’m not a therapist, I do fashion. We live in dark times. But we want to remind everyone that with love, you can change everything.”
Gabbana’s own childish drawing for his mother—it looked as if he had done it about age six or seven—was on one of the invitations. Another showed one ofDomenico Dolce’s love letters to his mom, made when he was a boy. The son of the owner of the printer that produces their fabrics was asked to contribute sketches, too, some of which ended up magnified on the silk dress his father printed for the finale. Silhouette-wise? The collection stayed true to Dolce & Gabbana’s family-embracing policy: short tunic shifts for the leggy little umarried sisters, curvaceous midi dresses for the pneumatic young mothers, substantial fit-and-flare dresses with stiff skirts for the chic aunties, and endless black lace and plenty of corsetry for the widowed nonne.
There were embroideries of red roses (traditionally given on Mother’s Day in Italy), Amore and Mama slogans picked out in naive felt appliqués or in cleverly assembled old-lady brooches. It all felt warm, it felt emotional, it created good will and a moment of happiness. All too rare in a system that is currently sidelining everything except commerciality, which is precisely Dolce & Gabbana’s point.