The Dolce e Gabbana duo like looking backwards. It's Domenico Dolce's birthplace in Sicily that forms the most constant inspiration for their collections and they have a penchant for a bit of history, for roman coins, old baskets, historical paintings. Think of them as fashion's great antiquers.
So it made sense that they were feeling nostalgic when it comes to morals as well as aesthetics for A/W 15. Dolce e Gabbana have always been big on family - countless of their ad campaigns illustrate that - but this season they were really pushing a 'Famiglia' feel. The backdrop to the show featured a living tableau of a dream Italian family, from tiny babies through to elderly couples. While it was hard not to get distracted by a poor squirming two-year-old, confused by suddenly being faced with nearly thousand strangers staring out at him from behind the lights, this display of deference to tradition, conservatism and history felt appropriate given the fashion Dolce e Gabbana are pushing. Sure they've long accepted the relevance of sportswear - see their signature tunic tops that crop up every season - but today Dolce e Gabbana are hardly innovators when it comes to surface and silhouette. The have a niche: lots of embroidery, lots of tailoring, lots of drama. It's a showy form of fashion that may feel slightly out of step with current moods when you've just spent four days at the thriving London Collections: Men, but it'll find a ready market amongst more traditional high fashion shoppers, the ones who value obvious luxury, elegance and formality as much they do family spirit. And for the younger signore - the prodigal son in the Dolce family - there's always a sweater plastered with an odd cartoon of a family featuring characters that looked like a cross between Homepride's Fred the Flour Man and Mr Benn.
The above aside, it wasn't all old fashioned fun for A/W 15. The pair were also attempting to respond to fashion's social media mania with pieces plastered with hashtags, #DGFamily. A gimmick like that is always going to feel forced and even oddly outdated, but maybe that's apt given surrounding air of all things passé and classic. That said, the pair showed where their heart, and future, lies with the closing look. It wasn't tailoring - that won't pull in a younger, newer shopper - but a statement sweatshirt, that great fashion moneymaker, low on design, big on cash return. It came in white plastered with 'Amore Per Sempre.' Its a nice notion, but the real message here? Safe sales forever.