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Mon, Jul 15, 2024

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Dolce & Gabbana: A Love Letter to Tradition and Innovation

When the glittering lights of Paris haute couture week dim, another spectacular fashion event unfolds, orchestrated by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Since 2012, their Alta Moda collections have transformed Italy's most picturesque locations into stages for their multi-day, extravagant showcases. 

These events are not just about fashion; they are luxurious experiences for a select group of high-net-worth clients who travel from around the globe to immerse themselves in the festivities. They mingle with celebrities, attend lavish parties, and, of course, acquire unique pieces for their exclusive Dolce & Gabbana wardrobes. The hefty price tags, often reaching six figures, are a minor inconvenience in this opulent setting.

Dolce & Gabbana

Sardinia is a Land Steeped in History and Tradition

This season, the Alta Moda caravan landed on the enchanting island of Sardinia, renowned for its rich history and breathtaking natural beauty. Sardinia, with its deep-rooted traditions and ancient rituals, provided a fitting backdrop for Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection. Historically inhabited by Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and Saracens, and ruled by the Spanish Aragonese for nearly four centuries, the island's intricate ancestral ecosystem served as a wellspring of inspiration for the designers.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana delved into Sardinia’s enigmatic past, drawing on its pagan symbols and mythologies to inform their creations. The show took place at the archaeological site of Nora, an ancient city dating back to the 8th century BC. This metaphysical, almost lunar setting was enhanced by a large-scale, site-specific artwork by American artist Phillip K. Smith III. His monumental installation, "Nora Mirage," featuring mirrored, askew columns, marked the designers' first-ever commission of a contemporary artist. The surreal atmosphere of the location, reminiscent of a De Chirico painting, perfectly bridged the past with the present, aligning with the collection’s contemporary ethos.

Sardinia is celebrated for its exceptional indigenous crafts, which Stefano and Domenico skillfully integrated into the couture silhouettes of their collection. The intricate filigree work, the primitive motifs of coarse-wool carpet weaving, and the artisanal mastery of shirtmaking and skirt-pleating were prominently featured. Flowing black tunics, cut to perfection, were adorned with golden filigree jewelry, creating an elegant and operatic spectacle against the island's stark, seaside landscape.

Dolce & Gabbana

Majestic pieces referenced Sardinia’s multicolored carpet-weaving traditions, and six puff-sleeved shirts, handcrafted by local women using a fine-pleating technique reserved for ceremonial costumes, paid homage to the island’s artisanal heritage. A modern couture spirit was evident in a series of vibrant chiffon dresses, which stood out as visual highlights of the collection. The designers cited the couture work of Maison Carosa, an atelier founded in the late 1940s by Roman princess Giovanna Caracciolo Ginetti, as a loose reference for these creations.

While the Alta Moda collection embraced a contemporary aesthetic, the Alta Sartoria line reveled in folklore and theatricality. The designers created an illusionistic rural palazzo on a hillside, setting the stage for a spectacular show that opened with a reenactment of the religious procession honoring Sant’Efisio, Cagliari’s patron saint. This elaborate cinematic affair featured hundreds of locals in ceremonial costumes, ornate carts carried by oxen, and rose petals and mint leaves strewn along the path. The appearance of the mythological Mamuthones—wood-masked figures wearing sheepskin mantles and carrying 30 kilos of bells—added a disquieting, yet mesmerizing, element to the spectacle.

A Blend of Past and Present

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria collections in Sardinia were a masterful blend of tradition and innovation. By drawing on the island's rich cultural heritage and infusing it with contemporary design elements, the designers created a unique and unforgettable fashion experience. Their work is a testament to their profound love for Italian culture and their exceptional ability to reinvent and reimagine it through the lens of haute couture.

In sum, the Sardinian showcase was not just a fashion event but a love letter to the island’s history, craftsmanship, and traditions. It celebrated the timeless beauty of artisanal work while pushing the boundaries of modern couture.

For Dolce & Gabbana, every stitch, every detail, and every moment is crafted "per amore"— for love.

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