After a year of staring at dresses on screens, the fashion set is ready for a return to IRL fabulousness. And no event could have been more spectacular than that held by Dolce & Gabbana in Venice this weekend to stage its Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria collections, the top tier couture designs which cost tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of pounds for each look.
This was a four-day party and posing-filled fashion extravaganza for 450 of D&G’s international super-rich clients and friends. And good god was it glamorous.
Here’s what you need to know:
Venice is fashion’s new favourite city
Stunning architecture? Check. An unusual and spectacularly romantic labyrinth of waterways through which to navigate? Check. Beautiful gondolas (helmed by handsome gondoliers in charming stripy tops) in which to make fabulously dramatic party entrance moments? Check. It’s no wonder Venice is fast-becoming a firm favourite among the fashion set. Last month Valentino hosted its autumn-winter 2021 show in the Gaggiandre, Rick Owens hosted his SS22 collection on Lido Beach, and Anthony Vaccarello hosted Saint Laurent’s men’s 2022 collection in the city. And if the locals thought they had seen enough ballgowns and blow dries to last them an eternity, the 78th Venice Film Festival is set to start tomorrow.
Among the 450 guests at the event, the majority of whom are the private clients (princesses and oligarchs) that can afford the £50,000 price tag at which most Alta Moda looks start, the famous faces were out in force. Dame Helen Mirren, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Combs, Doja Cat, Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Ciara, Monica Bellucci and Christian Bale all descended on the floating city, alongside Lady Kitty Spencer, who had Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce design the dress she wore to wed billionaire fashion tycoon Michael Lewis back in July.
Many mini-celebs hit the runway
The brand roped in a bevy of celebrity offspring to show their wares. Monica Bellucci’s daughter, Deva Cassel (16); Christian Bale’s daughter, Emmeline Bale (22); Heidi Klum’s daughter, Leni (17); and Sean Combs’ three daughters, Chance, Jessie and D’Lila, all hit the runway in a series of fabulous frocks.
The clothes were an ode to Venice
As models walked the opulent red runway to the Four Seasons concertos Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi created in the 18th century, parallels between the ornate, sculptural clothes and the architecture of the canalled city were clear. The first look was a ballooning coatdress embroidered with glittering scenes of the city’s bridges, while elsewhere dramatic kaleidoscopic patterns in metallic jacquard paid tribute to the region’s exquisite glassmaking industry and to the patterned floors and ceiling of St Mark’s Cathedral.
"For us, Venice represents the perfect harmony of opposites that attract: it is romantic and sensual, melancholic and joyful, rational and visionary, luminous and nocturnal, sacred and profane, dark and golden," Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said in a statement after the show. "It is the city of Casanova, of the Carnival, of the historic regatta on the Grand Canal."
The micro mini got a couture makeover
Micro minis have been having a fashion moment of late, and while most of us mere mortals will be rocking them with tights and boots this winter, the Dolce & Gabbana show proved that, if the mini is maximalist enough, there’s nothing to stop you rocking one to a ball.
Hail or shine, the show must go on
Four shows took place over the course of the four days. In addition to the Alta Moda womenswear main event, there’s the jewellery collection Alta Gioielleria (which majors on rocks so ginormous you imagine wrist ache for the hands they’ll eventually adorn); Alta Casa, a showcase of Dolce & Gabbana’s debut homeware line and Alta Sartoria. At the open-air event for the latter last night the heavens opened so spectacularly the runway was awash with hail stones the size of marbles. Anna Wintour and several other guests departed early to protect their mascara and blow dries, but for the hardy diamante trouser-clad Dolce & Gabbana male models, the show went on.