I’m sitting here wondering just how many more Sicilian-themed collections Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have in them. For that matter, how many more seasons will they be allowed to go on?
Yes, I’m going there, because they made the issue so obvious. You see, for those who haven’t kept up, the two very successful designers were convicted this past summer of tax evasion to the tune of some $11 million. Depending on how appeals go, the pair could easily end up doing at least three years in prison. There is no succession plan. Stefano Gabbana has told press on multiple occasions that if they go to jail, that’s it for the clothing line. Gone. Closed.
So, when the pair showed up on the runway with yet another Sicilian inspired collection, their fifth in recent seasons, and using, of all things, a gold coin not the least bit unlike that used to pay taxes in the ancient Roman empire, I found it difficult to not tie the line to the designers’ tax woes. I also am of the opinion that all that time spent in court this past summer impacted their ability to be genuinely creative. If you’re looking for anything new in terms of silhouettes, even variations on previous styles such as silk dresses buttoned up the back or mini dresses with flared sleeves, you’re going to be disappointed.
What we get, in pretty much every form conceivable, is gold/sepia colored clothes. That ancient coin is everywhere. At times it’s the polka dots on dresses, on another occasion, the embossed elements of the coin composed the entire dress, Paco Rabane style. They were the wedges on platform heels, headbands that reminded me of the dowry coins ancient women kept tied to their heads prior to marriage, and some of the largest freaking prize-fighter size belts I’ve seen in years. Whether they beat the motif to death depends on one’s tolerance level, but I was certainly happy to see the collection move on.
When it did proceed, we were treated to sepia-toned prints of ancient architecture and, most notably, blooming almond trees. It was with the trees, in fact, that they presented my favorite effect by embroidering the leaves and flowers onto lacquered silk dresses. I don’t think I’m alone in hoping they chase that concept a bit more as the aesthetic was probably the only genuinely new thing we saw from the label this season.
There was also an old-school Hollywood reference in a few pieces. The designers’ obsession with Sophia Loren is well known and their favorite model, Catherine McNeil, evokes those memories frighteningly well. Those who enjoy D&G’s retro looks won’t be disappointed.
At the very least, the boys are going to have an enormous fine to pay on top of all those back taxes, so they really, really need you to buy their clothes. When you do, be sure to care for them very well. We just don’t know how many more collections we’ll see.