A virile giglio bottonato—lily flower—the crest of Florence served as the runway for last night’s Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria show in the city’s Palazzo Vecchio (city hall). The crest has proudly represented the Tuscan city for over 1000 years. This year’s Alta Sartoria celebrates the Florentine Renaissance, a period Dolce & Gabbana state they always looked to with great admiration. Ahead of the show, actor Monica Bellucci was offered the key to Florence. A gentleman move that is typically Italian: first honor a woman before a show dedicated to men. And what a show it would be, “Art, culture, and intelligence made this a period of excellence, that continues to be seen as a model of perfection even today,” stated designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana before the lights dimmed, anticipation at an all-time high for guests, many whose trip to Florence marked the first in months.
Under the soaring, hand-carved ceiling of the Salone del Cinquecento, and flanked by large frescoes by Giorgio Vasari, one by one, models made their way down the Florentine lily as the voice of late tenor Luciano Pavarotti soared through the air. The first looks featured the lily emblazoned and embroidered on tunics, while the shirts that followed honored the powerful Medici family, who played a fundamental role in the Florentine Renaissance. Portraits of Lorenzo de Medici, considered “the magnificent” and the “humanist prince” for surrounding himself with artists, writers, and scientists to uphold talent and genius, were duly outlined with frames of golden thread embroidery.
This is a collection that elevates the idea of magnificence with all the artisanal powers that be and passed down from the original “Made in Italy” guilds created in the Middle Ages to today. Each bead, pearl, and embroidery that is stitched in a multitude of techniques to such noble cloths as velvet and silk intend to define its wearers’ moral superiority, education, and knowledge. Surface vanity be damned. Double-breasted suits in gazar silk were adorned with bejeweled pins and brooches. Leather jackets were decorated with scenes of fruit and exotic birds, like murals. Meanwhile long, belted robes featured battlefield scenes like The Storming of the Fortress of Stampace in Pisa by Vasari. Here, the cloth can tell one hundred stories and more.
Dolce & Gabbana flexed their imagination further by weaving wicker—initially seen as baskets denoting a dolce farniente afternoon in a Tuscan countryside into a man’s breastplate. Further molds would follow, but of the metal kind, offering a classic duality of the male essence of the Renaissance seen in the softer looks or the caramel-colored coat of leather interlaced strips. Bold, free, masculine, and feminine, elevated through discipline and curiosity, forever in our history books, and for the lucky few, Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria on the backs of model men of today.