Italy has one of the strongest traditions in European arts. The understanding, elevation and reverence of this artistic heritage is what lay behind the Dolce&Gabbana FW13 Womenswear collection.
Though the music was that of Italian popular tradition, there was nothing popular about the clothes that graced the runway at the Dolce&Gabbana FW13 show. Sheer opulence, yet not gratuitous, is what characterised the FW13 collection. Magnificent embroidery, precious applications and sumptuous fabrics referenced the Italian artistic heritage, as well as Italian couture.
The volumes, embodied in the padded hips of the skirts and even jackets were reminiscent of 18th century sumptuous dresses, where the waistline was emphasized by clinched corsets and the hips were widened with intricate constructions which added volume to the figure.
The Baroque period influenced more than just the silhouettes. The gold embroidery which adorned capes, dresses socks and boots was that of grand guided mirrors. The needlepoint embroideries, pursuits identified with the accomplished 18th century lady, were more than just tapestries. While the prints of lush floral still lifes and plump angels were customary frescos and paintings in palaces. Even the shoes referenced the baroque aesthetic, the sandals were inspired by Venetian ceramics and friezes plaster work.
The Baroque era is when Italy came into its own. Following the humanist teachings, business acumen and artistic advances of the Renaissance period, the Italian courts, from North to South became increasingly rich, in art, culture and social relevance. In an effort to remind our contemporary republic of these principles and great historical traditions, Dolce&Gabbana have crafted a romantic collection imbued with Italian heritage and cultural significance.
With opulence and Italian craftsmanship at the collection’s centre, embroidery was a main theme. The intricate gold thread, applications, pearls, and waxed silk fashioned into flowers were exquisite. All rigorously hand made, these details exuded baroque decadence and elevated craftsmanship. The embroidery spread onto the accessories: bags, shoes and even socks.
The romantic element of the collection was embodied in the needlepoint roses. Applied on lace and chiffon, this ancient craft which decorated parlours and grand halls was masterfully transformed in the FW13 collection. Needlework patches on accessories, like the mini Miss Sicily and mini Dolce Bag completed the looks on the runway. Ornate Capodimonte inspired bijoux complemented the floral motifs.
In a collection which looked at the craftsmanship traditions of the past, Dolce&Gabbana found a space for the craftsmanship of today. A portion of the collection consisted on chiffon and satin, washed or painted and then laser cut to create patterns and transparencies akin to lace. To add opulence to these contemporary works of art, crystals and pearls were painstakingly hand stitched.
As with the men’s collection, for FW13 Dolce&Gabbana have introduced a well loved yet sometimes forgotten type of outerwear: the cape. Whether made of fur, astrakhan, lace or embroidered felt, it’s the real must have item for the upcoming winter. Whether its applied on a dress, or on a coat, or mini like an arm warmer- the cape complements any outfit- even a bodysuit.
The baroque period saw a furthering of the Renaissance habit of displaying one’s wealth through the intricate decorations of one’s abodes. Grand palaces, villas and public buildings were adorned with frescos, plasterwork as well as lavish furnishings. For the FW13 collection, Dolce&Gabbana took inspiration from these decors and centred a portion of the collection on delicate chiffon dresses printed with flower still lifes and cherubs - the 18th Century artists’ favourite subjects.
The faithful Dolce&Gabbana client was not forgotten on the runway. The typical and well loved Dolce&Gabbana silhouettes and iconic items, the suit, the bodycon dress were revisited for FW13.
The highly anticipated spectacle of the Dolce&Gabbana fashion show did of course not disappoint. 72 models, in an eye popping variety of intricately embroidered dresses and bodysuits honed in on the central inspiration of the collection: Baroque opulence.
Going back to the original point, perhaps, the only real popular moment in the fashion show was the deafening applause, cheering and standing ovation which ensued once the perpetuators of the Italian craftsmanship heritage: Messers Dolce and Gabbana took their bow.
Styled by: Yuri Ahn
Written by: Valentina Zannoni
Fashion Show Photo by: Monica Feudi,Gianni Pucci
Backstage Photo by: Luca Cannonieri and Michele Morosi