by Angus MACKINNON
MILAN, Italy (AFP) — It was coconuts all round as Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a tropically-tinted collection for next spring and summer with a typically joyful show in Milan on Sunday.
At a time when all the talk is of the action on the street outside becoming more important than what goes on the catwalk, the Sicilian duo took the logical step of bringing the street inside.
As the assembled audience sipped from the coconuts handed out at the entrance, a troupe of boisterous youngsters invaded the stage and broke into a delirious mass boogie that mixed traditional Italian moves with breakdancing.
Of course the unchoreographed feel had been carefully choreographed — the multi-shaped band of ruffians were dance students from Naples.
But the unexpected start to a show entitled “Tropico Italiano” had the desired effect.
By the time they had departed and the first model emerged, everybody in the room was smiling. Well maybe not Anna Wintour, but everyone else certainly.
The clothes themselves contained few surprises as the designers mined their familiar theme of southern Italian sensuality colliding head on with bling.
In one striking look, an over-sized hoodie was worn on its own over sheer, knee-high stockings and under a tiara: grunge princess you could call it.
This season’s version of the little black dress was worn by Hailey Baldwin, the increasingly high-profile model niece of actor Alec. A tweaked version came in the form of a bustier and pencil skirt linked by a sheer section across the midriff.
Overcoats sparkled with a rainbow of metallic colors, while platform sandals and chunky high heels were fitted with flashing green, blue, red and purple lights, a kind of powered-up version of a look that remains popular with toddlers.
– Myanmar and football –
The tropical theme was most apparent in some Carmen Miranda-style head-wear and there were the usual humorous nods to the designers’ Sicilian heritage.
Pyjamas in the style of a football strip came with Palermo printed on the back in case anyone did not recognise the pink and black colours of the team from the island’s capital.
A mini-dress that appeared to have been cut from a flour sack was emblazoned with PIZZA across the bust.
At the more discreet end of the spectrum, a plain white polo shirt was paired with a black wraparound mini that tied up asymmetrically, while a pinstripe two piece was comprised of a cropped jacket and pleated, Capri-length trousers.
The dancers returned for the show’s riotous finale, pulling people from the crowd to join them in getting down before Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana emerged from backstage.
With Monday’s programme dominated by up-and-coming talent, they were the last big names to take a bow at this year’s fashion week as a result of Giorgio Armani’s decision to give up his traditional closing-day slot.
Also showing on Sunday was Jil Sander, where Rodolfo Paglialunga opted for a slightly more billowy version of the workwear-heavy brand’s traditional silhouette.
“Assertive volumes create a breath between clothing and body,” his collection notes said: “A bold vision of classicism.”
Stella Jean meanwhile took inspiration from both football and Myanmar for her latest collection, which blended menswear and womenswear.
The Haitian-Italian designer said some of her looks had been taken from South-East Asia diplomatic receptions of the 1940s, and others inspired by the elegant style of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Cultural crossovers were a theme in a nod to Jean’s own mixed heritage, most notably in a sarong and chemisier combination that she described as the “perfect geek chic uniform”.
The football theme emerged in jerseys inlaid with captain’s armbands and vintage football polo shirts that were paired with ultra feminine skirts.
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