Stefano Gabbana was sitting amid a sea of accessories—velvet slippers with turned-up toes, earrings in the shape of lemons and oranges, crocheted raffia bags, wooden clogs with rose-painted enameled soles, and gigantic sunglasses decorated with flowers and crystals—in the Dolce & Gabbana studio before their show. Meanwhile Domenico Dolce was coaxing laughs from a model as he fitted her into a black lace bra and skirt and proceeded to demonstrate how he wanted her to first sashay the runway, then stop to take a selfie. “You see?” exclaimed Gabbana. “We don’t believe in fashion for trends any more. We want to show emotion. Just enjoy!”
Their inspiration boards were pasted with printouts of vintage posters advertising the attractions of Capri, Venice, Rome, and Florence; movie stills of Italian stars; and pictures of all kinds of handmade, homemade souvenir embroideries. This summer, the designers have moved on from exploring Sicilian history to seeing Italy’s glories through the eyes of the foreign tourists who began to flood into the country after World War II. There, visitors found little shops selling embroidered circle skirts and sundresses, printed scarves, sandals, straw hats—things that Italian women had been making at home to cheer themselves up in times of austerity. “This is where the first boutiques came from,” explained Gabbana. “We think it was the beginning of Italian fashion. And it was because foreigners saw it and liked it! Sometimes we Italians don’t appreciate all the things we have here!”
Stepping back a bit to view the D&G show through the prism of the season, it seems that Italian style and culture—the flamboyant, sensual, colorful sides of it—are being appreciated again. Alessandro Michele is on the same sort of track atGucci, and at Valentino, there’s a deep exploration of the glories of Rome. In fact, Dolce & Gabbana were actually on the scene first, and have succeeded in grabbing girls and women from all around their world with their seasonal travelogues. If that means ditching the anxieties of fashion and just going for clothes that suit and make you happy? So be it, say Dolce & Gabbana.