Titling a non-Parisian fashion show 'Le déjeuner sur l'herbe' - after the controversial 1863 painting by Edouard Manet - sounds like the first step along the slippery road of excessive art-history pretension. Fear not, this was the D&G show, a bastion of no-fuss fun where over-thinking is never a danger. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana may have been taking their mainline in a more intellectual direction the past few seasons, away from baroque Fellini glitz and into what could almost be described as their Neorealist period, but D&G is simple, old-fashioned fun. Indeed, if we're continuing the cinematic analogy, the snap of Johnny Depp culled from John Water's 'Cry Baby' and splashed across cotton t-shirts tells the whole story.
'Le déjeuner sur l'herbe' literally translates to 'The picnic on the grass' - maybe Domenico and Stefano ran it through Google Translate, as it seems to have sent them off on something of a tangent. Rather than the Impressionist art route or nineteenth-century dandies we may reasonable have expected, the Spring/Summer 2011 collection rather obliquely took picnicking as its theme, writ loud across simple, staple, preppy basics. Gingham checks in classic red, green and blue were crafted into neat cotton shirts, seersucker blazers, and used to line the narrow turn-ups of chinos, jeans and knee-length khaki shorts. If it all sounds a bit Brooks Brothers, it was, veering toward the WASP-y east coast of the U.S.A. rather than D&G's standard Italian machismo. If we're talking kitsch Americana, those John Waters references make perfect sense - as did the Hawaiian prints flecking t-shirts and cotton drawstring shorts. And where would any clean-cut American teenager be without a prom? D&G made sure that their boy has a tuxedo to die for, sending out a pastel rainbow of sorbet satin suits as a neat finale. It should have been utterly wrong, but for some reason they struck a chord. Young, simple and unpretentious - D&G was exactly what you wanted it to be, no more, no less. Bang on the money.