Monday, September 28, 2009

Flower Power.

Bold blooms defined the Dolce & Gabana Spring aesthetic.

The end of Milan's Fashion Week came with a bit of a surprise for this lil' fashion blogger. Dolce & Gabana collections in recent history have not been favorites of mine. With their penchant for overspilling cleavage, ruffles, ruching, loud prints, bright colors, stacked heels, and t-t-t-tight skirts, their wares were a little too tacky for my taste. I know it serves a purpose and has a place in a certain woman's wardrobe, but gaudy doesn't do it for me. However, I always held on to a romantic idea of Dolce & Gabana past. In the '90s the house was a harbinger of a new Italian style. With a bent towards flower prints, flattering silk dresses, and corsetry, their shows combined an old world glamour with a new sexiness that was molto Italiano without the tacky, sticky, spikiness of recent runway shows.

Pretty, but no shrinking violets.

With early '90s nostalgia in full swing, the house hit the target of now so completely. Aside from a few screaming, red, leopard print pieces, most of this season's collection kept a level palette of black, white, and cream and showcased that archival brand of D&G sex appeal that honors women, rather than reverts them to played out roles as mob wives and mistresses.

There were gorgeous floral prints that echoed the old Dolce & Gabana '90s nuveau Italian aesthetic wonderfully. The thing to admire about their floral prints are their strong sense of femininity as power. Where most florals are used in fashion to denote a sweetness, a softness, or a girlishness, the bold blooms on Dolce garments are seductive. They are defiant of their usual connotations. They are stretched across the body in shiny satin or sheer silk in a way that doesn't disarm their wearers, yet rather adds to their toughness in the most delicious way, demanding respect. Flower power indeed.

Lace to the finish.

The lace in the show was similarly seductive and sophisticated. There is always something romantic about lace. It's revealing; it's so evident in its construction, in the work it takes to create its intricate woven patterns. Lace is one of those fabrics that women gravitate towards and that may ebb and flow in popularity but never leaves the realm of chic. It was smart of Dolce & Gabana to lean heavily on lace, and despite it's timelessness as a material, somehow they were able to make it look so fresh. The black pieces were elegant, the white garments were austere yet pretty. This was lace of adult women, not angelic girls. The crocheted knits, the fringed wovens, the webbed netting, it was all so well rendered and pretty. Understated, classic, smart, sexy, fresh. All of those descriptions are equally balanced across this collection.

The menswear element was also right on for the season. Women are suiting up and headed back to work. They are living again in a man's world, appropriating the sartorial cues of power. In boyish bolero suits and pleat front pants, the ladies looked like sexy bull fighters. Like women ready for a charge.

Raffia corsets, woven and structured, were another highlight of the collection. They were so smartly understated. It seems as if a raffia corset would be a superbly unnecessary garment at this particular time, but the rough sexiness of it, the natural element of the material, the whole package makes me want one. So many of the pieces in this collection strike a chord of desire. They are special. They are garments that women will be able to justify purchasing. They are elegant, classic, and again, very special. Those are the keys to sales in a time of restrictive spending. Give the girl (woman, excuse me) something to desire that seems practical and you get the gold card. Simple as that, designers, simple as that.

All photos from

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