Tastes and aesthetics progressed with the 1600s, and with the turn of the century, furniture became more elaborate and more extravagant, Baroque began to give way to the Rococo style.
The Baroque artistic period was a continuation of the Renaissance artistic spirit which put Italy back on the map in terms of manufacture, trade, art, architecture, literature and philosophy. Seamlessly, Baroque, with its strong religious connotations, evolved as if organically in a further embodiment of the secular tastes that gave life to the movement: extravagance, beauty and opulence. These three elements were exacerbated and became known as Rococo.
What most tends to represent the Rococo Italian and French styles are the intricate wood and stucco carvings guilt in gold. The complicated, difficult and expensive practice contaminated most pieces of designs: couches, side tables, frames and mirrors and lighting. Whether in small doses, such as decoration, or full-blown statements, these golden ringlets, acanthus leaves and statuettes were visible almost everywhere in noble salons.
Taking inspiration from the French Louis XV styles, Italian Roccoco permeated most geographical areas where furniture making was renowned. In Piedmont, Lombardy, and Sicily where the French influence was most noted, the extravagant gilded furniture was exquisite, while in Venice Rococo took another direction. Particular types of furniture became in use in the Baroque/Rococo periods which are still in use today: console tables, trespoli (side tables), as well as bureaux desks and credenze.
In an effort to take distract attention from the City State’s failing maritime supremacy and political unrest, Venice invested a lot in the arts. As the capital of fashion and avant garde trends, Venetian Rococo was on the forefront of design. Lacquer was very common, and many items of furniture were covered with it, the most famous being lacca povera (poor lacquer), in which allegories and images of social life were painted. Also some splendid Venetian furniture such as divani da portego, or long Rococo couches and pozzetti, became common place in non venetian homes, while of course the gilded mirrors and Murano glass chandeliers encrusted with gems remained the most covetable in all of Europe.
Dolce&Gabbana Fall Winter 2013 embroidery.
The undisputable Baroque and Rococo inspiration in the Dolce&Gabbana Fal Winter 2013 collection is most visible when considering the intricate, hand crafted gold thread work on the dresses, shoes and bags. Reminiscent of the Rococo gilding and decorative practices; the clothes are much more than fashion, they are art. Much in the same way as extravagant decoration contaminated most items of furniture in the Baroque period, we see gold embroidery on everything, even sunglasses. The Dolce&Gabbana Fall Winter 2013 collection looks to embrace the same values as the Rococo period did: extravagance, beauty and opulence.
Written by: Valentina Zannoni