Sicilian heritage and in particular women’s garments (and undergarments) have contributed to creating a DNA to the Dolce&Gabbana style.
Dolce&Gabbana have created many single items which have now become part of their DNA. In 27 years of history, the design duo have launched the corset as acceptable outerwear, the corset dress, and of course extravagant embellishments that make their clothes unique. There is one thing however that was part of the brand’s DNA even before they made history. Just like children are born of their parent’s genetic code, Dolce&Gabbana was born with Sicily running through its veins.
Instantly recognizable, sensual, iconic, irreverent, serious and rich in heritage, Sicily lies at the base of what makes Dolce&Gabbana an indisputably relevant maison on today’s fashion scene. Much in the same way as the islanders themselves, Dolce&Gabbana have a very unique way of looking at things and their art is in manipulating basic dress and making us see things; suits, dresses and corsets, through their eyes.
The fascination with Sicily was bred by Stefano Gabbana, a Milanese, in his early life and further accentuated by Domenico Dolce, a Sicilian through and through. The colours and traditions of Sicily, loved and understood by both have been a source of inspiration for many collections.
It appears in the annals, that it was Stefano Gabbana who first suggested to draw inspiration from Sicily. His love and passion for the island were matched by Domenico Dolce, who of course as a native of the land, was more that happy to oblige.
The first Sicilian elements appear in the SS87 collection, where there was a dress made owith nylon tights material, reminiscent of the tights Domenico Dolce viewed in his childhood. The actual tights worn in the fashion show were purchased in a small hosiery shop in Palermo while the duo was on holiday.
The full-blown Sicilian inspiration came the following season, the FW88 with a collection named Sicilia. Here everything was reminiscent of the island, the colour rigorously black, the lace, the silhouettes and even the advertisement campaign shot by Ferdinando Scianna set in a typical Sicilian village and starring Marpessa.
Nineteenth century Sicily became the inspiration the following season: the Leopard, the Visconti movie. The richness of the social fabric, the sumptuousness of the surroundings, the inertia of tradition, these all came to inspire the collection, and in many ways, these three elements are also, in their own way, part of the Dolce&Gabbana DNA.
Even in collections where the Sicilian reference is not strong we still see key elements which characterize the island, and the fashion. Suits, widow veils, corsets and the ubiquitous black pop up in every Dolce&Gabbana collection, not in a repetitive way, but as a means to reinforce the notion that Sicily is an endless resource.
Dolce&Gabbana have gone as far as devoting their iconic “it” bag to the island: the Sicily bag. It burst on the scene in 2009, and since then, with its somewhat austere form and highly crafted details, the bag is a representative of the island and the women who inhabit it.
In the most recent seasons, Sicily has taken centre stage again: joyous like a village fête in Spring Summer 2012, opulent like the Baroque Fall Winter 2013 collection, and steeped in heritage as in the Pupi and Mori di Caltagirone printed Folk Spring Summer 2013 collection.
The Sicilian feel of the Dolce&Gabbana collections has been revisited in terms of key trends from the seasons and never got old. Always vibrant, always referenced, even in the smallest details, Sicily, its landscapes, heritage crafts, and even its widows are an essential binding in the brand’s DNA.
Styled by: Yuri Ahn