“The models in this show will be taking selfies with you. Be part of this special fashion moment.”

So read signs displayed at the presentation of Dolce & Gabbana’s spring/summer 2016 presentation in Milan on Sunday.

From Venice’s gondoliers to the ubiquitous gelato stands, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana decorated dresses with all things Italian to make them look like postcard. Entitled “Italia is love”, the collection presented a 1950s picture-postcard view of Italy over an exhaustive 90 looks. Decorations on bags and dresses celebrated the country’s greatest tourist hits: Capri! Amalfi! Taormina! Rome! Portofino! There were Virgin Mary medallions dangling from shoes and appliquéd on burgundy velvet dresses.

Known for their use of embellishments, the celebrity-favourite designers used an array of colours, sequins, gems, pom-poms and appliqués for their spring/summer 2016 collection, made up mainly of dresses in various lengths and short skirts. Clothes came in every shape, shade and incarnation, with the brand’s signature sleek silhouettes shown alongside those designed with an international customer in mind – loose, striped tunics worn over trousers; a flowing, long-sleeved, floor-length floral dress that came with a matching headscarf, as well as more old-fashioned international references: a kimono, a cheongsam and embellished slippers that Gabbana said were inspired by India.

Bags were fashioned after tourist’s cameras or traditional wicker baskets. Michelangelo’s David, Rome’s Colosseum, Venice’s gondolas, the tower of Pisa and Florence’s Duomo all became sequinned patches on frocks. And there were lemons everywhere – embroidered into dresses, on headdresses, used as chunky plastic earrings.

“We have shops in St Petersburg and Rio de Janeiro,” said Gabbana backstage. “Everyone is crazy for Italy.”

Trends, he pointed out, are not so translatable, hence the variety of styles: “There is not one shape of dress, or one height of heel – we are doing kaftans and short dresses, we are doing flats, high heels, sandals.”

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce
Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce

“The problem with fashion,” Gabbana mused “is that all the labels are owned by a group – they lose their soul. They are not any more fashion designers – this is the truth.” Dolce & Gabbana, he said, took a different approach. “We tell a story.”


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