The Pope may have thrown in the towel, but Dolce and Gabbana's Catholic faith has not been shook. Today's Autumn/Winter 2013 womenswear collection was an extension of the piety and pride the duo had displayed at their most recent menswear show. From the gilded crowns that sat atop the models' heads to the bejewelled crosses that decorated gowns, this was all about the mite and majesty of Italian faith.
True to the history of the lavish Catholic Church, iconography seemed to be the real theme. From the soundtrack of The Spice Girls – this century’s holy women - that greeted us guests as we took our seats, to the more traditional saint imagery emblazoned on the front of garments, this collection was all about the figures we worship. There's a certain irony to this, as fashion so clearly fetishises icons, whether it’s the street style stars in their Balenciaga and clashing print or the unmistakable must-have model whose face stars back at you from every campaign and every catwalk. It’ll be somewhat amusing to see those famed Tommy Ton favourites sporting icons on their chests next season as we all worship their sartorial panache.
But then just as both the Catholic Church and fashion are all about idols and saints they are also about opulence, and there was lots of this on show today. ‘Tailored Mosaic’ was the title of the collection, and aptly the opening dresses were so ornate they could have been lifted straight off the eye-popping ceiling at Venice’s St Mark's Basilica. From the sweeping red velvet curtains that veiled the stage to the painted holy wine lips on each model, the theatre and performance of religious practice underpinned the collection. One girl even sported a sculptured gold bodice that resembled the kind of ornate chalice from which one takes communion at the altar.
The religious theme was at its most literal in the black and white lace looks, some of which seemed to be Dolce and Gabbana's own version of naughty nuns - see the strict white shirt paired with high-waisted black lace hot-pants and comedy-sized rosaries. Even the tailoring had a pious theme. Those thick tweeds and conservative, modest shapes resembled women of the cloth on their day off.
But of all the looks to emerge it was the final hurrah that was the most breath-taking. All of the show’s glamorous beauties arrive en masse in sparkling, embellished red lace gowns. It was so divine a vision that even us committed atheists couldn’t help but look to the heavens.