Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are all for equal opportunities. Whatever themes and inspirations have trickled through their mind and into the collection for men will also be reflected, after a fashion, for the girls. At their D&G label, this is never anything less than explicit - therefore, when we received the same woodgrain invite and the mise-en-scene was a repeat of January's Nordic chalet, we knew we were in for more of the same - all the better to coherently kit-out those very many worldwide D&G boutiques.
There were differences of course, mainly due to that well-established D&G gender divide. Their Autumn/Winter 2010 menswear may have tackled the same themes and iconography, but that show's chunky, masculine down-stuffed layers and thick knits have been slimmed down and sucked in for their women. The feel was more apres-piste than mid-slalom, with a slant away from the all-too-active sportswear that dominated said show, towards the good solid winter knitwear. Those knits looked great, whether streamlined into skinny all-in-one skisuits or cabled into cuddly sweater-dresses. Fairisles were reconfigured into complex intarsias of reindeer, snowflakes and Nordic scenes - a little predictable (not just after the menswear) but they did the job. They looked great teamed with foliage-print silk chiffon pussy-bow blouses and pleated skirts in autumnal shades of red and brown; less so crafted into micro-mini playsuits that were more Playboy bunny than ski bunny.
Often, those faults perceived in D&G collections lie simply in their unbridled enthusiasm. They must exhaust a theme, drain it of all life force and discard the empty husk. Thus, in this display, we inevitably went that little bit too far, with crystal-encrusted ski-helmets and goggles, bobble-hats and thickly-wrapped scarves, and every single model marching out in knee-high fur skiboots. Frankly, one pair was more than enough - the thought of flocks of teenaged D&G'd girls clad in this get-up (with boyfriends to match) was nigh-on terrifying. Throughout, this collection felt like a bride for January's mountain man - we can only wonder when the reindeer-knit children's like is scheduled to hit stores and make the idyllic Arctic vision complete. But maybe I'm not giving Dolce and Gabbana the benefit of the doubt - anyone would admit the all-white winter wonderland finale of tiered floor-length chiffon gowns was beautiful - and masterful - enough to silence any niggles.