Africa is an awe-inspiring continent, and an endless source of inspiration for creatives in all fields. The otherworldly scenery, acacia trees dotted on the savannah, acid lakes, volcanic mountains and crystalline white sand beaches create a sensory overload. Tribal garments and decorations, along with their traditions co exists with some of the most mesmerizing animals left on this earth: elephants, giraffes, rhinos and of course the big cats all capture our imagination. Inspired by Richard Avedon’s and Irving Penn’s photography, Dolce&Gabbana dedicated SS05 their collection to the cradle of humankind.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana took a trip to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe over the Christmas break, and Africa, as it does to many who visit it, seduced them, scarred them and will stay with them forever. As a testament to the strength of the emotions and inspirations which they drew from Africa, the SS05 collection was dedicated to the continent and to two of the most iconic photographers who immortalized its people, wildlife and scenery: Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
The collection referenced four distinct Africa related inspirations. Lauren Hutton was the first, timeless, emancipated and Africa loving muse for the collection. Hutton, model actress and wildlife activist was some sort of ranger of the fashion world. Tomboyish, makeup-less, messy haired but intensely beautiful, Hutton was shot by Avedon in what were to become iconic images of the era.
The collection looked to Africa and it could not bypass its inhabitants. The rawness of the fashion reflected the wilderness of the fauna, lace and python, feathers and denim, and of course animalier print: zebra, leopard and tiger prints roared on the runway.
The tribes people of Africa and Irving Penn’s photography of them was another important reference in the collection and the advertisement campaign. Beads typical of the Masai and Samburus, decorated dresses, and accessories, as well as feathers. The advertisement campaign was a homage to Africa and its people, with statuesque figures clad in tribal dress towered over models lying in sand.
When interpreting fashion safari looks, Yves Saint Laurent is a reference that cannot be avoided. The collection featured beaded Hessian fringed dresses that were a homage to Saint Laurent’s 1964 spring summer collection, while the safari suits, well most of the tailoring present in the collection referenced the invention of this great designer: the urban jungle safari look.
Styled by: Yuri Ahn
Written by: Valentina Zannoni