Sunday, 22 September 2013


Despite their talent for making undeniably gorgeous clothing, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are often targeted by fashion critics for a lack of originality. After reading a few reviews after the livestream of the Italian duo's S/S 2014 collection this morning, the critique was often predictable with the general consensus being that the designers' aesthetic hadn't progressed, and that there was little distinction between this and their previous collections. As usual, the clothing was heavily influenced by classic Italian architecture, there were sprinklings of gold lace and religious iconography and almost every look came complete with dazzlingly intricate footwear - however, to say that there was no progression in the collection is, essentially, untrue. Just as Donatella will continue to use her safety pins and Lagerfeld will continue to show fur at Fendi and tweed at Chanel, every fashion house has its signature codes - the traditional Italian imagery and dainty floral crowns simply help to identify a garment as being designed by Dolce & Gabbana. This isn't a bad thing. 

In my personal opinion, Dolce & Gabbana are the epitome of Italian style. From the predominantly gold colour palette through to the jewelled embellishments and heavy jewellery, every piece in the collection is the embodiment of luxury. However, Domenico and Stefano also proved that they have some new tricks up their sleeve. The use of fur, for example was unusual for the duo, especially considering that the fur had been dyed to a multitude of hues from neon orange to cobalt blue. Then there were a series of midi dresses engineered in PVC and adorned with floral embroidery, a departure from the more reserved (and arguably more wearable) evening gowns that the duo are known for.
With a staggering 77 looks, there was no absence of variety in the collection, but certain motifs seemed to recur throughout the looks - circles were omnipresent, whether it be in the form of enlarged polka dots on sheer shifts or gold coins emblazoned on everything from earrings to waist-clasping wrestler belts. Florals were also incorporated into the collection in a more graphic way - as opposed to being printed on the fabric, swirling vines and delicate petals were embroidered onto chiffon gowns, lending an interesting textural quality to the look. 
Finally, the collection was also responsible for spawning a fair few accessories that are sure to become ubiquitous within the fashion community next Spring. Adorable raffia box bags were seen on the runway, as well a series of smaller clutch bags printed with miniscule florals - the general theme for the bags was small, structured and extremely ladylike. In terms of other accessories, the bigger the better - huge gold coin belts provided the focus for most of the looks, and the earrings were reminiscent of the doorknockers of the 90s - gold coins dangled down from gold chains with not a stud or pearl in sight.
Detail of the gold-coin belt
Just one example of the intricate footwear on display
Essentially, the show was a celebration of everything that Domenico and Stefano are known for - neither of the designers claim to be avant-garde in their methods, their goal is to simply produce big-budget spectacles filled with beautiful clothing imbued with Italian iconography. The duo are the epitome of fashion as a form of escapism; the clothes are opulent, decadent and eye-wateringly expensive, but their talent for putting on a show is undeniable, and it is what sets them apart from their contemporaries as true fashion legends.

Playing with texture - the finale look

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