Palazzo Vecchio, the heart of the city, founded in 1299, features one of the most wonderful rooms in Florence: the Salone dei Cinquecento, that hosted the Dolce&Gabbana Alta Sartoria Menswear fashion show.
The Florentine Lily looks, a tribute to the city, include t-shirts in silk organza entirely covered with feathers by workshop Mazzanti Piume, trousers in moiré, brocade and jacquard and slippers in embroidered suede.
The robe-coat look is made in brocade by Antico Setificio Fiorentino and paired with velvet trousers, a silk satin shirt and scarf, brocade slippers with brooches and a crown, sceptre and necklace by Paolo Penko.
As an emblem of the Renaissance, decorated by architect Giorgio Vasari and commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, this magnificent hall featured a floor decoration of the symbol of the city: the Florentine lily.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have always valued the dedication and passion behind the creation of handmade pieces. Local artisans of Florence and Regione Toscana are masters of this art, an art that combines traditions of the past and innovation for the future.
The new Alta Sartoria creations presented tonight in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio are the perfect representation of Dolce&Gabbana’s love for Fatto a Mano and Made in Italy.
The show – introduced by youthful mayor Dario Nardella, who also presented actress Monica Bellucci the keys to the city – featured 100 looks and marked the first major catwalk event by an acclaimed key fashion house since the world went into Covid-19 lockdown this spring.
All unveiled inside the Salone dei Cinquecento, the massive soaring council chamber decorated by giant frescoes by Giorgio Vasari, the first person to use the term Renaissance in print.
Throughout Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana referenced the great icons of the Renaissance – Michelangelo, Leonardo, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli. Interpreting the humanist ideas of that epoch – where man, and not god, became the center of the universe – in some outlandishly grand outfits. Climaxing with ducal robes in mink, bullion and gold embroidery. Worthy of Cosimo de’ Medici, and echoing paintings of rulers of Florence, by the likes of Salviati. Portraits of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, the greatest condottiere of the era, even appeared on gold brocade tunics.
In yet another bravura moment, the duo transferred an image of a warrior amid swords, spears and bugles seen in Vasari’s enormous fresco of the Battle of Marciano onto a remarkable embroidered jacquard dressing gown finished with astrakhan lapels.
Moreover, the rich hues of those frescoes appeared in a series of devilishly well cut suits – composed of razor sharp double breasted jackets and sleek finished at the ankle pants.
The whole conception could easily have tripped over into cliché, except the finish was so spectacular, the color palette so intense and the sense of celebration so memorable. In short, menswear for men of distinction that reaches the level of haute couture achieved for the world’s wealthiest women.
“Thinking about it, after spending all this time here with the local artisans, I have realized that the true role of we Italians is to use ancient and new ideas create beauty for the world.”said Domenico in a pre-show press conference inside an ancient cloisters, igniting a burst of applause from the assembled group of some 100 of his co-nationals.
Five centuries ago, Leonardo da Vinci once attempted a novel method of drying one of his frescoes in the Salone dei Cinquecento, hanging hot coal braziers which only succeeded in melting the paint, causing the colors to run into a puddle on the floor. But everything worked extremely well in this collection. All the way to the mysterious lettering on several tuxedos, reading Cerca Trova, meaning Seek and Find, a reference to the myth that the remains of Leonardo’s damaged fresco are still hidden behind Vasari’s later work.
Post-show, guests were treated to a dramatic display of tamburini and sbandieratori – drummers and flag wavers in traditional costumes marching to sonorous drumming as hundreds of locals watched from the far side of the Piazza della Signoria.
Ironically, exactly where the austere Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola, who briefly ruled Florence for four years, staged his bonfire of the vanities – when works of art by Botticelli and tapestries, mirrors, cosmetics and sculpture where destroyed – was executed in 1498.
Very certainly, Savonarola would have been appalled by the glorious excess of this Alta Sartoria collection with its supreme self-indulgence and hyper opulence. A brilliant fashion statement offering a vision of a brighter more optimistic future at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel.