Eric Wilson's Front Row Diary: Dolce & Gabbana Design a Love Letter to Mom
The invitations to Dolce & Gabbana’s fall runway show today featured the kind of children’s drawings you might find taped to refrigerator doors across the world. A child handing a rose to his mother, saying she is the most beautiful thing in his world. What could be sweeter?
Sometimes a fashion show isn't about fashion at all, and the theme of this one was “the mother,” which, as anyone who has ever dated an Italian will tell you, is sacrosanct. I mean, Mamma mia! While moms are an unusual choice of muse for designers like Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, it turned out they had quite a lot to say on the subject in what turned out to be the feel-good moment of Milan Fashion Week. The curtains parted to reveal a tableau vivant of models and children – babies and toddlers, some still in diapers, others old enough to know how to stand still and look adorable. Some of the babies even clapped along! Not one of them was a crybaby, either.
Next came the runway models, carrying little babies in their arms, and one model, Bianca Balti, was pregnant, which means that Dolce & Gabbana managed to combine fashion for women, moms, babies, children – and maternity – on a single runway. They even created gowns printed or embroidered with drawings by the designers’ nieces and nephews, which were surprisingly delightful and also unexpectedly symbolic, a heartfelt expression of acknowledging their roots, or, as the designers said in a release, “allowing fashion to be seen as an extension of where one comes from.”
Even if you have mommy issues, it would have been impossible not to find something charming about this collection, which included quite a number of gilded suits and lacy black dresses, some with red roses appliqued along the hems and trims. One perfect cape, in particular, was beautifully crafted with a three-dimensional embroidered rose on the shoulder, perhaps less saintly than suitable for Mommie Dearest.
Moving on from mom, Milan has had its shares of highs and lows this week, but none as high as another M, as in Marni. Consuelo Castiglioni, its designer, stripped down her silhouette to bare lines, and in many cases highlighted the waist to a greater degree than is her norm. The results were super-intriguing, like a long brown jedi-like tunic worn over loose wide trousers that were slit in the back to reveal a flash of leg with each lengthy stride (pictured, below left). Coats were shown with long fur sleeves in contrast colors, and a brick red dress was cinched with a wide belt worn high above the waist, a look both abstract and clean, without veering too far into the territory minimalism.
Speaking of, what ever happened to minimalism? What’s so wrong with distinct lines and a spare palette, or a perfect navy wrap coat over trousers in the same fabric (pictured, above second left)? Or a simple-skin-tight turtleneck worn under a loose jacket or sweater? Rodolfo Paglialunga, the new designer at Jil Sander, has given us reason to reconsider the value of a clean start. His terrific remake of the troubled house is gaining momentum, and fast.
MSGM designer Massimo Giorgetti loves turtlenecks, too, and evidently minimalism also (pictured, above right). He showed something that could be described as a turtleneck dickey – that is, just the turtleneck part, attached to no sweater, and worn with a colorful coat. Not for everyone, I’ll admit, but I’m interested.
If you’ve been following the gossip, you’ll also know that Peter Dundas, currently the designer of Emilio Pucci, is rumored to be heading to Roberto Cavalli very, very soon. You might say it’s in the stars. For what it’s worth, Dundas must have been spending quite a lot of time with his astrologist, his fortune teller, and his tea-leaf reader this season, given that he showed some dashing gowns that were printed with constellations (pictured, above second right). Anyone feel like making predictions?