When Anna Wintour gets up and leaves the front row, you’ve probably kept the audience waiting too long. The 45-minute delay at Dolce e Gabbana’s A/W 18 show certainly put a big black mark over the collection. And what were we waiting for?
Drones, apparently. After finally managing to get all of the guests to switch off their wifi, a series of handbags came floating out of the shining gold doors at the end of the runway. They hovered for a while on the catwalk before going back. Then the show began. As a marketing gimmick, I could have done without it. But the majority of the guests seemed to absolutely love it. There was plenty of ‘oohing’ and applause.
Dolce e Gabbana enjoy dabbling with novelty. For the last few seasons, they’ve employed an army of millennial influencers to walk in their shows. The drones were a new and strange addition, a futuristic debut totally at odds with the clothes.
The theme was ‘Fashion Devotion’ and from behind a cherub-filled, pseudo-religious facade emerged an endless stream of looks. The first was classic Dolce, with black lace and a ‘fashion sinner’ slogan. It harked back to an era when the brand punched high with super sexualised designs: an old-school mix of Italian glamour and playful Catholic references. It was good. There was a handful of black and lace looks amidst far more ostentatious designs; tight bandeau dresses, high waisted cycling shorts, corsets and a long-sleeved, mid-length lace dress, which all delivered. But the appeal of these pieces was the element of nostalgia and romance, not tech or future.
The many looks that made up the rest of the collection were decadent. Amongst these were numerous embellished jackets and bejewelled headpieces; sequinned crop tops and embroidered jeans. Statements such as ‘Fashion is Beauty’ ran down the side of sweatshirts and jersey jackets. A tiered, mint green dress embodied the Italian duo’s sense of theatre in a subtler way, and tiger-print fur coat evoked classic Italian elegance. Also eye-catching was a zebra coat complete with a zebra head hood. An obvious play for the millennial vote.
It seems as though Dolce e Gabbana are now more in the business of entertaining than they are of designing. Their audience wants to have fun, and the pair can deftly throw a good sartorial party. It’s not a bad thing but it doesn’t necessarily belong in high fashion. At least not how the industry currently understands it, although recently appealing to the industry hasn’t seemed to be a priority for the brand. It seems the future is theirs for the taking, so long as there’s wifi.