The dichotomous relationship between Art and Fashion is one of the hot topics which always heats the fashion lovers. In one side there are the intransigent ones who can’t tolerate even the proximity of the two words, on the other hand there are those who want to “elevate” Fashion to the Art status.
We can surely consider Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana among the fashion designers who periodically rekindle this sort of debate: their collections are an interesting hybrid between costume, high-fashion, street-style and artistic masterpieces. From season to season they leave the fashion journalists speechless: everybody is charmed by their prints inspired to the stereotypical Sicilian folk traditions, declined on hieratic tailored dresses. Every show is a surprise and each theme is interpreted in multiple ways with ubiquitous references to figurative art.
|Dolce e Gabbana – Fall Winter 2013 – Arcangelo (Abside, Duomo di Cefalù)|
The fall winter 2013 women’s collection is the most recent example which demonstrates the importance of artistic influences on the work of the Italian designer duo. In a long parade ( the Dolce & Gabbana shows are among the longest for duration, with at least 70 outfits ) with Nino Rota’s soundtrack, the two designers have given the three-dimension to the Sicilian-Norman mosaics of the Monreale Cathedral, the Cefalù Cathedral and the Church of the Martorana in Palermo.
The collection is dedicated to St. Agatha, so, the mosaic of Virgin Mary in the apse of the Cefalù Cathedral has been transformed in the portrait of St. Agatha, the protector of the city of Catania just by adding a crown. The coronation of Roger II, the Archangel Gabriel, William II dedicating the Monreale Cathedral to Our Lady, and all the portraits of the Norman kings have new colors now, and they also shine at every step thanks to golden paillettes and crystal appliqués entirely hand-sewn by skilled seamstresses.
The link between Art and Fashion according to Dolce & Gabbana, assumes additional meanings if we consider the menswear fall winter 2013 collection and the spring summer 2014 collection, full of those religious symbolisms ( Christian or pagan ) which countersign Sicily as a mystical land.
The winter 2013 collection seems to be a review of the Catholic hierarchy vestments, a sort of tribute to the Fellini’s fashion show in the film “Roma” ( 1972): from the simple clothes of the altar boys, you go to the embroidered lace vests, down to the stoles and the chasubles studded with precious stones, updated and revisited on shirts and tuxedos. As casual items we can find printed knitwear with votive images of the Virgin of Fatima, the Sicilian cathedrals and the Saints of the Sicilian cults, as if to recall the simplicity of the people, compared to the glories of the Church.
Clerical Fashion Show in “Roma” (1972) by Federico Fellini
|Dolce e Gabbana UOMO – Fall Winter 2013 – Chierichetti|
|Dolce e Gabbana UOMO – Fall Winter 2013 – Prelati|
|Dolce e Gabbana UOMO – Fall Winter 2013 – Iconografia Madonne|
For the summer 2014 collection we can see a return to the ancient mythological origins of the Magna Grecia, with references to the pagan popular cults of the South of Italy. On ivory suits there are the temple ruins of the Agrigento Valley, taken from the 18th and 19th centuries lithographs and watercolors made by the richest Northern Europeans artists and literates who were used to visit Italy for the Grand Tour. The Sicilian maps by Abraham Ortelius (1584) are re-proposed on shirts and shorts, mixed up with the profiles of ancient gods on coins and decorative friezes or with mythological episodes such as the Judgment of Paris , the apotheosis of Zeus or the triumph of Apollo, retracing the history of Civilization and of Beauty.
|Dolce e Gabbana Uomo – Spring Summer 2014 – Tempio della Concordia Agrigento|
|Dolce e Gabbana Uomo – Spring Summer 2014 – Tempio della Concordia Agrigento |
|Dolce e Gabbana Uomo – Spring Summer 2014 – Siciliae veteris typus – Abramo Ortelio 1584|
If all this great mix of culture, color, folklore, costume, creativity and haute couture can’t be considered as Art, then what is it?
Someone calls it demi-couture, some other prêt-a-couture, but why not just call it by its name, FASHION, and finally recognize its independent value at the same level of Art?
Alessandro Masetti – The Fashion Commentator