Listen to this article


There were branded towelling slippers at Dolce & Gabbana’s SS17 show — all were embroidered with five stars and “D&G luxury hotel” across the band. Alas, this wasn’t an announcement for the house that they are branching into the hospitality industry. And what a pity — I can’t think of two better designers to check in with.

This southern-Italian flavoured “Tropico” show explored the fantasy of the quintessential riviera holiday, taking the region between Sicily and Naples as inspiration and stuffing the collection with a buffet of treats: cocktail- and gelato-print sundresses, religious embroideries and iconic headpieces, drummer jackets and mandolin-shaped bags that reflected the region’s local banda troupes. (There was also a gang of ragtag street dancers employed to set the scene.)

In truth, there was no huge diversion from the themes of so many Dolce & Gabbana collections past: polka-dot sundresses, pencil skirts, sequinned minis and neat 1940s-style jackets. In the most explicit self-reference, the show’s pasta dresses recalled the same silk-lined hemp mini-gowns worn by Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford in the duo’s 1992 collection.

© Catwalking

Besides, Gabbana no longer believes in trends. Their collections now focus on experiences, storytelling and incorporating more folk into the brand’s familia. Instagram has taught him that the sharing culture of today’s social media feeds can be turned to profit.

“If I put a picture of a magazine editorial on my feed, and I regram a picture of a normal woman wearing one of our looks, the real woman will get five times as many likes,” he said backstage, while playing with a light-up disco-heel. “Fashion today is about sharing the story.”

© Catwalking

Dolce & Gabbana’s all-inclusive attitude seems heartful — and it feels authentic. On his own Instagram account Gabbana merrily tags men, women and children wearing the label without a care for how they look, or how “fashion” they seem. In the overly-curated world of fashion, theirs is a brilliantly forward-thinking and, incidentally, free way to engage with consumers.

Meanwhile, back in the tropics: the models took the finale in winking, glinting tiaras, pool shoes and T-shirts emblazoned with the words: “D&G SS17 — I was there”. The idea was inspired by the many, many fake D&G T-shirts the pair have spotted on their travels. The slogan had been translated into every (“well, nearly every”) language, and given its own stamp of authenticity, “#lacopiavera”, along its seam.

Real, imagined, fake or honest, Tropicano Italiano was a joyful place to visit. I could have stayed another week.

Photographs: Catwalking

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics mentioned in this article

Follow the authors of this article