When a brand as big as Dolce & Gabbana decides to try a couture collection for the first time, you can probably look forward to an utter spectacle. The most recent ready-to-wear show from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, staged in Milan last February, featured chandeliers, sparkly-framed mirrors, and enormous capes resembling red episcopal vestments.
“It was unabashedly lavish, but it had nothing on the duo's new collection, which was dripping in gold bullion,” Style.com reported.
Those sure that yesterday’s couture collection would match the Spring 2012 RTW show’s opulence should think again. We know very little. There were only three press outlets invited, and none of them are American. But from the Instagram pictures floating around the web, the debut of Dolce & Gabbana’s take on haute couture seems to be tame when compared to their other larger-than-life shows. Perhaps they wanted a test run in Italy, on home turf, before unleashing a full collection to the world.
It was held a week after most editors and buyers left Paris following the Fall 2012 Couture shows, and not everyone made the trek out to Taormini, Sicily. The Twitter and Instagram feeds of Cameron Silver, proprietor of the Decades boutiques in London and Los Angeles, reveal that the runway was set up in the open-air lobby of the San Domenico Hotel, where guests were staying. And who were these guests? They included Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Scarlett Johansson, Isabella Rossellini, Naomi Campbell, Monica Bellucci and Anna Dello Russo.
Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, also in attendance, took to her blog to praise the first attempt at couture.
“The show was held within a unique scenario and featured real haute couture pieces, not only for the cuts but also for the choice of textiles and the refinement of the silhouettes,” she wrote. “Lace and double satin tailleurs, embroideries dresses and simple sheath dresses, as well as redingotes and lambskin little coats and painted dresses.”
But despite the high-wattage guests and positive feedback, it seems the overall tone was reserved. Showing in Italy means the brand did not have to adhere to the strict French couture laws, and the shunning of press pointed to reservations on the part of the designers.
And they could not have established more of a home field advantage. The show was held immediately before the procession of San Pancrazio, the patron saint of Taormina, a place that cares deeply about such holidays. Perhaps Dolce & Gabbana, one of Italy’s more iconic brands, needs to get out of its comfort zone and show somewhere a bit more neutral.
Click on the slide show to see images from the Dolce & Gabbana couture show.