The Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda show was a special spectacle in every way
Although Venice was founded 1,600 years ago, it is safe to say that the city has never seen a spectacle like the one that took place here earlier this week. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana presented their latest Alta- Moda collection in a place that has never been before a fashion show: St. Mark’s Square.
The 400 or so super-rich customers in the audience who had already taken part in a Dolce & Gabbana couture show knew that they could expect something extraordinary, and the designers delivered it too. After settling in this so famous place that seemed so unreal to us, we were treated to a 20-minute performance that was a mixture of Carnival and Fellini stories. Jennifer Hudson appeared in a gold dress and sang “Nessun Dorma” from the opera “Turandot”, while the drones and seagulls circled above us. So you had time to let the Venetian-Gothic backdrop work on you and to process the luck of being here.
Still indulging in these thoughts, the next thing I saw was the collection, which of course was delivered by gondola. The antique boats were accompanied by an unusually cool breeze that pulled over the lagoon off the coast towards us. The gondolas unloaded a procession of models at the Servizio pier next to the Doge’s Palace. As always with these Alta Moda collections, the pieces were deeply immersed in the local handicrafts and creative culture of the host city, both to celebrate the richness of Italian craftsmanship and to offer customers a site-specific and unique souvenir.
Georgette and tulle dresses were embroidered to eerily recreate the kaleidoscopic patterns of Murano glass or the snake patterns on the floor of St. Mark’s Basilica. There were incredible cloaks made of knotted rope and items of clothing that mimicked the city’s famous winged lion protector, gondola posts, and carnival masks. Huge garments made of satin (these embody the silky reflections of the canals that run through this city everywhere) and turbulent splashes of georgette were made into a fantastic masked ball fabric.
Dolce & Gabbana in Venice
Prior to this show, Gabbana and Dolce had said they wanted to showcase a younger side of Alta Moda, “because everyone thinks couture is for the elderly, but it doesn’t have to be that way”. This was reflected in the punk styling and cast, which included a sextet of celebrity offspring consisting of Chance, Jessie James and D’Lila Star (daughters of Sean Combs), Deva (daughter of Monica Bellucci), Emmeline (daughter by Christian Bale) and Leni (daughter of Heidi Klum).
As the show progressed, the extraordinary thing about this Alta Moda presentation became even more apparent, as it was as if Venice had been encouraged to put on its own show. At around 7:32 p.m., as Leni Klum was walking down the catwalk, suddenly a threatening cloud cover – almost as densely patterned as a Murano collage dress – seemed to slide over the skyline and plunge us into an apricot-colored sunset. Minutes later, clumsy and apparently reluctant raindrops began to splash onto the marble slabs, creating the perfect conditions for a rainbow that spread from the roof of the Doge’s Palace to the Lido. It was followed by lightning, a jagged fork, and two huge claps of thunder before the rain really set in. As if by a miracle, the whole thing was accompanied by Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, and luckily the rain didn’t set in until the designers ran down the catwalk to a standing ovation.
Afterwards, Domenico Dolce said, “You know I’m Catholic, so I asked the Virgin, ‘Please wait a little longer!'” These were dresses – and a show – that restored both belief and fashion Revived joy of meeting her.
This article appeared in the original on Vogue.com.