What has happened to Dolce & Gabbana? They’re officially gridlocked in a campy nostalgia, in a kitschy bucolic loop that looks to be inescapable. A year ago they hit upon something big, a special way of doing things. You can pick out the same notes in last Spring’s show, to last Fall’s foray to this latest collection for Spring ’13. The same lampshade corset dress, the strategic ornamentation in just the right order, the presentation, everything really. They’ve created a paradigm that they’re afraid to abandon, because, quite frankly, it’s proven to be “money in the bank”. Still, it’s been at the cost of artistic integrity. There may be cartoonish Sicilian marionettes emblazoned in these frocks instead of eggplants and strung hot peppers, but we’ve still seen that same frock before.
All the deja vu aside, Dolce and Gabbana still upped their showmanship this season. Perhaps they have the not too distant memory of their haute couture show lingering in the forefront. They did decide to showcase their couture outing in Sicily after all. The love letters to home seem to keep pouring out of these two. It’s still not clear whether it was plain shock or ballsy fun when Kasia Struss walked out in a dress made out of a flour or grain sack. Literally, she was wearing a bag. And the finale crinoline dresses made out of bent cane? The girls were wearing actual baskets. These were true bag ladies on the runway.
But their strengths did not lie in all the frivolity. Lots of options here will sell, but overall, their striped pieces will prove mightier than all the familiar racket. Those pieces felt and looked special; they didn’t fit into the seemingly inflexible shtick they’ve got going on. When Dolce & Gabbana go minimal, expect some gravitas. And as for the fact that this was all an homage to Sicily, well let’s hope that means the return of their long since discontinued perfume of the same name. It’s only one of the greatest scents of all time.