Dolce & Gabbana Menswear Spring Summer 2016 Milan
It was with quite a bit of giddy anticipation that guests walked into the Dolce & Gabbana menswear show. After all, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had pretty much given the theme game away with their elaborate invitation and accompanying show notes booklet. It spelled out, in nine different languages, that the collection was called "The Chinese Palace," after the landmark located in Palermo, thus making this collection's intention to find a way to blend the exotic Orient with the duo's favorite Sicilian style.
This was a rather bold juxtaposition for anyone, and, in the hands of the designers, one that was a bit hit and miss.
The show started out well with silk printed suits, boxy tops, and trousers coming out covered in preening peacocks, birds perched on bamboo reeds, and classic undulating dragons that slid over tie patterned backdrops. Striking too were the graphic, almost cinematic, black and white lined fabrics. All of it had a luxe loungy attitude about it, even when deftly tailored.
The introduction of ripped jeans and some perfectly faded and fitted leather jackets also worked well within the Dolce & Gabbana universe, as did the reappearance of some of the print motifs, this time brought to life through embroidery.
It was when the Sicilian side of things began to show up that this collection started to look muddled. Rough jute tops with gilded black and white images of Madonna and child, lemon tree printed ensembles, and loud, primary-color naive drawings of Chinese iconography felt disconnected somehow from the groundwork laid in the first half of the show.
It was only in the finale, when all 102 models came out wearing polo versions of some of the collection's silk print designs, did the show get back on track. Astute editors might also have spotted that each top featured a crown logo. It's a new symbol for the house. Now go ahead and mull over all the subtext that choice of symbol infers.