Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2016

Fu Manchu Goes to Palermo

Monothematic yes; but polychromatic, multi-cultural and mightily maximalist, the latest runway show by Dolce & Gabbana was a baroque crossing of two very distant cultures – China and Sicily.

Red dragon tailoring looking dangerous and fresh Dolce & Gabbana
Red dragon tailoring looking dangerous and fresh

Inspired by the Palazzina Cinese, improbably located in Palermo, the duo took a trip to the Far East. Their shirts exploded with raging peacocks or snarling dragons, their jute linen tunics with grand viziers tea-drinking inside pagodas.

Ripped jeans are back Dolce & Gabbana
Ripped jeans are back

And the duo’s Sicilian DNA shone out with print tops featuring the Madonna & Child surrounded by cacti and lanterns.

When the lapel matches the trousser Dolce & Gabbana
When the lapel matches the trousers

For those in need of a decadent soiree – meaning loyal Dolce & Gabbana clients – in something other than a classical smoking jacket, the pair suggested several dazzling silk pajama tuxedos in China blue motifs, or in a brilliant series of ornithological prints featuring robins, swallows and thrushes – worn over broken denim jeans.

Pagoda tailoring Dolce & Gabbana
Pagoda tailoring

“We didn’t invent this Chinese palace; but we sure reinvented it,” said Stefano Gabbana of the famous Palermo abode, after a show that featured a remarkably large cast of 112 models – all marching in espadrilles – made in embossed leathers and finished in ruby bugle beads, spikes and crystals.

Birds grâces the suit Dolce & Gabbana
Birds grâces the suit

Remarkably, given that Chinese consumers have made the past decade the greatest boom in the history of luxury, very few designers have been actually influenced by China in men’s wear. So, the show felt doubly prescient given that the outstanding fashion exhibition this summer is China: Through the Looking Glass in the Met in New York. In another nod to the Far East, the show boasted a strong Asian male model casting.

Nobody shows more ornate printwork than Dolce & Gabbana
Nobody shows more ornate printwork than Dolce & Gabbana

The only one not wearing espadrilles was Domenico. “They don’t make them small enough for me,” giggled Signor Dolce, pointing to his natty crocodile Alta Sartoria lace-ups.

Sicilian altar boy Dolce & Gabbana
Sicilian altar boy