Once upon a time in Milan two designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, conjured up a fashion fairyland of tinselly princess dresses and Prince Charmings in toy soldier uniforms with big shiny buttons. There were black lace ‘wicked stepmother’ dresses and a host of box bags in the shapes of pumpkins and castles. Dolce & Gabbana are fashion’s storytellers, each show a rich narrative offering a few minutes of escapism. Cinderellas and Sleeping Beauties were the starting point for next autumn’s enchanting collection that blended some of the designers’ signature ’50s silhouettes with cute cartoon motifs like fairy-tale tailor mice, tin soldiers, a chandelier and teddy bear embroideries. It ticked the boxes as far as all this season’s trends are concerned, from the bourgeois oversized coats and jackets, to the graphic dogtooth checks and a finale of 70 pink and silver sequinned dresses that would appeal to Studio 54 disco queens. The new ready-to-wear collection comes hot on the heels of the Alta Moda collection of fairytale ballgowns presented at La Scala last month and all the set props for this show were from the opera house. The designers say the collection takes a modern viewpoint of love and is for a new generation of princesses. Never mind the pretext, the chances of owning a Dolce & Gabbana dress is a for many still a fantasy.