“I don’t like the ‘digital show’ solution,” said Domenico Dolce. “The fashion show cannot be substituted with something on a screen. You need the physical contact, the human connection. Because fashion begins with people.”
“We did a ‘virtual’ Alta Moda show last month,” added Stefano Gabbana. “But without an audience it was not the same thing. It lost its essence.”
To regain that essence for this Dolce&Gabbana Menswear Spring/Summer 2021 Milan, the designers had to adapt. Their long-standing venue, the Metropole theater, is not currently fit for purpose: COVID-19 makes any mass indoor lingering unpalatable.
Therefore we decamped 30 minutes south of Milan’s center to the garden campus of Humanitas University, the educational arm of the privately funded—but public-treating—medical group for which Dolce & Gabbana has been funding medical scholarships since 2019. In February of this year—before COVID-19 was first detected in Italy—the designers donated further to Humanitas’s since fruitful research into the body’s immune response to the coronavirus.
Twenty-twenty’s graduating students have just learned that they will be able to celebrate their matriculation—the moment at which they become doctors—with real, not virtual ceremonies this summer, and some of them were among the 260 temperature-checked and masked guests here.
What the soon-to-be doctors diagnosed in Dolce & Gabbana this evening is unknown, but from my very spacious bench—“They’ll never be able to squeeze us together like sardines again!” observed my neighbor from a meter away—it looked liked like a serious case of creative development.
In their preshow briefing (also spacious) the designers said they had worked with the owners of the Parco dei Principi hotel in Sorrento to infuse elements of Gio Ponti’s architectural wonder into their collection.
There were plenty of straightforwardly cosmetic connections made; the beautiful blue tiling patterns in the hotel were handsome additions to silk sarongs, a rib-knit “wetsuit” (modeled with a hilariously small surfboard), dressing gowns, pants, and shirting. More complex was its reproduction in fully proportioned knit sweaters, or different-wash patchwork on jeans.
Ponti’s hotel was not a new structure, but something built around a preexisting 17th-century building that was also designed to blend into its Mediterranean context, hence all that blue tiling.
Today, Dolce & Gabbana built something new about the preexisting architecture of tailoring, proposing broad back-pleated pants as the foundation for slim jackets shaped around pin tuck seams. They also worked on some fun hybrid pieces including a bold sweatpant-jean splice and a lovely full-shoulder jacket in differently shaded and textured sections of blue leather.
“These are not simple clothes—they’re complicated!” Gabbana had archly observed beforehand. And they were. This complication was not without purpose, however.
For one thing, it looked good. And along with the venue we were in, the legacy of Ponti, and the selection of foods from across Italy prepared by chef Gennaro Esposito, they were products of Italian culture and excellence—all showcased with pride in front of an audience whose passion was tangible.
In partnership with For Funding by @intesasanpaolo Bank and in compliance with the health regulations in force in Italy, the event supports @fondazionehumanitasricerca for Scientific Research. ⠀
Donate now at the link in bio.⠀
Live performance courtesy of #IlVolo ⠀
#DGMenSS21 #DolceGabbana #MFW