It was unreal, on many levels. Guests converged from all over the world to participate in the designers weekend of “at home,” deliberately surreal entertainments. “I want to bring them to a place where fantasy and reality become confused,” said Dolce. He’d drawn up every detail of his Arcadian happening in his sketchbooks—Roman centurion and Renaissance pages holding flower-garlanded arches over the heads of arriving guests, trees sprouting ceramic Majolica apples, nymphs with filigree wings, Puck-like figures suspended from branches.
Three shots sounded the start of a show of a staggering 96 outfits that spanned the seasons and offered us the whole canon of the pair's favoured styles. Empire-line gowns in debutante organzas were followed by velvet-trimmed brocade trouser suits with cigarette pants. Massive ball gowns with crystal corseted bustiers above their voluminous skirts celebrated the flowers of Italy as opposed to last year's fruits of Capri. Since these clothes are being ordered for winter there was a large amount of fur and skins - a patchwork fur shawl of many colours, a cowhide jacket trimmed with white fur cuffs, opera coats paired with drapes of sable. And there were the many mid-calf lace and satin cocktail dresses - beloved of the pair - decorated with crystals and intricate embroidery and topped with feathered headdresses or tiaras.
There were fairies at the bottom of Domenico Dolce’s garden last night. Queen Titania in a golden crown and a vast, princess-y, gilded crinoline, too. There was even a girl with a pair of lace donkey ears, à la Bottom, wending her way amongst the ninety-four Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda looks worn by girls who stepped carefully down a steep winding pathway and onto the expanse of runway which stretched across Dolce’s lawn, at sunset in Portofino. An Italianate Midsummer Night’s Dream, brought to life in Dolce’s own domain.
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