Dolce & Gabbana unveil first haute couture collection in Sicily
There aren't many times in my life when I can claim to have something in common with Monica Bellucci and Naomi Campbell. But this week we were a part of a select gathering in the town of Taormina, Italy, on the island of Sicily. A few weeks ago, Dolce & Gabbana confirmed it would unveil its first couture collection to an audience of 200, including four newspapers. The SCMP was the only one from Asia.
As I stepped off the plane, it was soon clear that the famous Italian designers had all but taken over Taormina. Cars with blacked-out windows could be seen all round the glamorous town.
Having withstood a long love affair together, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have forged a lasting friendship and working relationship. The recent folding of their popular D&G diffusion line into the main line came as a surprise. And when news of this Alta Moda ('high fashion') line broke, it was clear that the fashion duo were entering another stage of their new vision for the brand.
At Milan men's fashion week a few seasons back, Gabbana told me their intention and dream was always to create something timeless. Entering the garden courtyard where the Alta Moda presentation was held, 'timeless' was a fitting word for the setting.
The collection was an ode to Sicily, in beautiful workmanship featuring black and white dresses with big hoop skirts and tiny waists. Black crotchets and Sicilian linens stitched so finely, they looked like lace. Flowers, Gabbana's main love, were hand-painted on skirts and used on plastic embellishments.
Alta Moda was a stunning debut. It showed off the pair's grasp of their craft and the richness of their imagination. Dolce & Gabbana are focusing on the world's biggest couture clients, of which there are precious few. Those I spoke to at the event were impressed by the duo's first big venture into couture.
After 27 years, I have to say this was definitely worth the wait.