Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda

 

Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda

The extravaganza that is haute couture is by now enough ingrained in our fashion consciousnesses to know that it is a rare and precious environment that is not of this world. That is, of course, aside from those few fierce radical souls who endeavor to apply it to the everyday. But Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have so much of the everyday in their ready-to-wear business that couture (or alta moda in their mother tongue) gives them an opportunity to slip the surly bonds of Earth and touch the face of God, a silken, gilded, embroidered, sequined, furry God who dwells in a realm of pure indulgent luxury, outside any of the prosaic restraints that bind designers to budgets and deadlines.

Continuing their sterling work for the Italian Tourist Board, D&G chose Portofino as the location to launch their new alta moda on the world. Not just alta moda, but alta sartoria and alta gioellia: womenswear, menswear, and jewelry, a world of one-off splendors, essentially showcased in their own homes. Yes, the duo’s own houses—baby castelli, really—on the outcrop of rock that distinguishes Portofino from its sister enclaves on the rest of the Ligurian coast. “Stefano’s house is the showroom, my house is a backstage for the models,” said Dolce, before Friday night’s mind-numbingly spectacular parade of womenswear. And ownership of that outcrop meant that the designers could indulge their most extreme fashion fantasies: Dante, Homer, and, critically, Shakespeare coming together in their own version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Lewis Carroll also played a part in a hallucinatory mise en scène that transformed Dolce’s garden into a hybrid paradise: grapes on a palm tree, watermelons on an olive tree, orange trees with chestnuts, and a massive upside-down oak, roots waving in the air. “What’s real, what’s fantasy, you won’t know,” Gabbana teased before the show.

“It’s the fashion system’s fault that no one tells a story today,” he continued. It’s maybe closer to the truth that no one tells a story like Dolce & Gabbana. Worker bees had been buzzing around Dolce’s property—auspiciously named Villa San Giovanni, like his mother’s house in Sicily—for a year to make it ready for Friday night. It was the designers’ biggest production to date—94 models, 80 performers—and the substantial uphill hike to the property (thoughtfully eased by hydrating way stations) was sufficiently disorienting enough that the audience was prepped for something extraordinary. It arrived, with a sequence of looks that jammed a movie’s worth of sensory overload into almost every outfit. Let’s set aside the simplest—the doubled tux jacket, the gray pinstripe suit with the Dietrich pants, even the white T-shirt (ermine) with the little black skirt (hyper-embroidered)—to focus on the gigantic skirts, full-blown from Dolce’s bible, Visconti’s The Leopard, each one more overwhelming than the last. Spumes of peacock feathers, sprays of silk printed with pumpkins or owls or parrots, familiars to Dolce’s magician. It all looked hand-painted, but the duo now have their own printing facility, so fairy tales can come true. This wasn’t so much a midsummer night’s dream as it was an entire world re-created by Prospero, Shakespeare’s mage in The Tempest. Dolce even made new animals, like a jacket composed of a hybrid of red, gray, and green fox, red ermine, and yellow ostrich feathers—a bird of paradise redux, paired with a parrot needlepoint skirt and a black lace camisole. The outfits were purest alta moda one-offs, once sold, never repeated, and to ram that point home, there were pieces made from vintage fabrics, like a black lace caftan cut from a single bolt of cloth.

And then, to make the point even more acute, Domenico and Stefano did it all again on Saturday night, this time for men. Tailoring is in Dolce’s blood, but his spin on bespoke menswear was lush, decadent. “Our desire for vanity and beauty doesn’t change,” he said. ”We’ve just lost the way to deliver them.” Consider D&G’s alta sartoria a remedy for that state of affairs. Like the alta moda, this wasn’t intended as a seasonal proposition. Dolce claimed that fashion lay in the way the wearer himself would approach the duo’s alta sartoria, the onus therefore being on the customer to not surrender to fashion victimhood. An interesting challenge, when the men’s collection was such a provocative blend of hard and soft: silk linen pajamas under an officer’s coat in baby cashmere, kimono wraps encrusted with embroidery, cyclamen pajamas under a matching robe. Dolce was insistent that these clothes would be a purely private pleasure for the men who ordered them. He had been in the homes of such people, never a photographer in sight, the utmost discretion at all times. Take, for instance, one of the first clients Dolce & Gabbana’s alta sartoria ever had: He wanted the jacket with the hand-painted Canaletto. When Dolce pointed out that it had already been ordered (one-offs, remember?), he replied, “But I have my own Canaletto.”

In the luxe, calme et volupté of a world where men can have their own Canalettos reproduced on the jacket of their choice, it would seem that extremity could scarcely grab a hold. But Dolce & Gabbana have a canny grasp of the mechanics of desire. Friday night’s event ended with a post-dinner handbag grab for the ladies, a time-and-place souvenir that proved irresistible to just about every woman on Dolce’s mini mountaintop. It was followed by an orgy of cheesy Italian pop that had the crowd vibrating with glee. The following night, men got cigars (not quite as fabulash as a handbag for the nonsmokers) and a swing combo from Palermo called the Bar Room Kings, who were a little less cheesy but still had a noisy, up-for-it crowd gagging for a good time. The weekend climaxed with a club night dedicated to oro, gold, the most antique symbol of human cupidity recast in a disco inferno. And that’s the odd magic of this brand: heights of craftsmanship, depths of fun. Genuine fashion democracy in full cry. And no surprise that it works. People are people, after all.

Photo: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

Tip! That’s Kinda Eww

Really love the color of you new jeans or ones you’ve had for a while and you don’t want them to fade keep fading? Here’s a tip that can help with keeping the color and getting rid of the not washed jeans smell.  Put your jeans in a plastic bag and put in the freezer during the night to remove any type of odor.

The freezer will kill most of the bacteria, and you do not need to worry about the dye in your jeans disappearing due to washing or cleaning.
Via: Harpers Bazar

Let’s talk . . .

Pretty please would you write just a few words or a lot of words about well . . . what you would like to talk about.  I’m into fashion so that what this blog is about but you don’t have to talk with me about that. I would love your opinions about fashion. As long as you want.  But I will tell you that this past fashion month has totally wore me out.  It was such a huge roller coaster ride! Good or Bad, Ugly or lovely. I had all those feelings.   But more than me talking I would like you to talk.  It’s so important as a new blogger to find out what you think.

Even if:

you know nothing about fashion and you just want to say hi or tell me off

you really don’t understand what the big deal is about a whole month of fashion.

you want to talk about what you liked

you want to talk about what you didn’t like

you just want to say something

you have dropped by my blog and you would like me to talk about something in particular.

The point is there is no right and wrong about any of your opinions.  It would totally make my day to hear from you.

If you want to have a look at my blog with pictures of the latest fashion you can just click below.  Tell me what you think about it!!!!

Not Ordinary Fashion

 

Well Folk, they came, they saw, and some of us coveted

The curtains are closing on New York Fashion Week for the fall-winter 2015 collections, and what a week it was: From the new crop of trends to teen models who took over, there certainly wasn’t a minute to rest if you were watching the catwalk as closely as I was.  Even this last day of shows brought us some excitement, a touch of the West with ever classy Ralph Lauren  and a new lust for lacquered skirts and jackets, even Michael Kors brought some down to earth glamour that he said backstage “it felt like the Duchess of Windsor would have worn something with this feeling in her day” that we will never know, but he was inspired by her. He said people want sedate glamour among other things.

But Marc Jacobs finale might have the week summed up perfectly: With exaggerated silhouettes, punchy pops of pink and orange and just a bit of that classic Marc-y Marc grunge, he gave us a little of all that we loved from the best shows this week.

It’s been over a year now since Marc Jacobs left his post at Louis Vuitton. Good breakup or bad, splitting up is hard, and it sort of showed in his last two collections for his own label. Both last Fall’s show, over which Jessica Lange intoned unconvincingly that “happy days are here again,” and the all-army green lineup he presented for Spring felt not exactly dull

 

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but definitely melancholic. Tonight’s show was something very different, with a Stefan Beckman-designed backdrop inspired by Jeremiah Goodman’s painting of Diana Vreeland’s sitting room and a bone-rattling loud soundtrack lifted from Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, both of which fairly screamed, “I’m back!”

The clothes lived up to the advance billing. From the relatively quiet start of Erin O’Connor’s almost-black checked sheath with four wide bands of bugle beads below the waist, the collection built and built. It touched on metallic brocades and leopard print, chevroned mink, grommeted leather, nailhead studded silk, and embroideries that looked like digitized and pixelated portraits of the eccentric Vreeland. “She was a genius,” Jacobs said of the legendaryVogue editor backstage. “She got the whole fashion thing: being decisive, being so excitable, and then being as passionate and dismissive about the very same thing the next day.” Jacobs read her Memos book while he was working on the Fall collection; the surprise is that he hasn’t made a muse of Vreeland before. “I felt like that’s what fashion is,” he continued, “that complete addiction, obsession, that I’ve-got-to-have-it need until I basically wouldn’t be caught dead in it.”

Over the years, Jacobs has produced that obsessive feeling in fashion lovers more reliably than most. As the models paraded by in their polished patent leather boots, you could tick off the looks that will get his fans’ blood pumping, from the snake-print coats with jet embroidery to the long, straight column dresses that felt spare despite their swirls of sequins. Will the floor-scraping pleated skirts and the mutton-sleeve jackets make a come back?  Hard to say. They’re definitely not where fashion’s collective unconscious is in early 2015. But who knows? To borrow a quote from the famously quotable Vreeland, Jacobs may just have given us what we never knew we wanted.

Not Ordinary Fashion

Non Of These Pictures Are Mine

How The “One Percent of the One Percent” Shops

Inside Dolce & Gabbana’s Diamond-Spiked Alta Moda Weekend in Milan

 

Backstage at Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Spring 2015

Here’s a fantasy to savor: You are wealthy beyond common comprehension—and far beyond mere lottery-winning daydream. You might own a vast oil field, a huge natural gas concession, or maybe some tech company that the Nasdaq can’t get enough of. Perhaps you are the scion of an immensely wealthy family concern, or a Saudi princess, or a Russian who made economic hay when the Soviet Union collapsed—then got out before the ruble did, too. The details are immaterial. But the bottom line is that your bottom line is outrageously perky. You are the one percent of the one percent. And you like to look good—no, you like to look unique.

So here’s the question: What are you going to wear? For you, the boutiques of Bond Street and Madison are like Gap. Red-carpet clothes are overexposed by actresses who—can you imagine?—get paid to wear them. Even the couture collections in Paris are a touch déclassé, for where’s the mystery in wearing a dress that anyone can see on a Style.com show gallery?

This is an extremely niche (and, it goes without saying, extremely privileged) rationale—socioeconomics demands it—but it does exist. And for the last five seasons, Dolce & Gabbana has served its subscribers with the Alta Moda collections. These began in July 2012 in Taormina, Sicily; continued 12 months later in Venice; and then moved onto Capri in 2014. Those winter collections were interspersed by summer collections, shown in January in Milan immediately after the Paris couture shows. They were born of what seemed at the time the perverse decision to absorb D&G, the commercially successful but—the designers said then—creatively unfulfilling second line into their main ready-to-wear offering. As Domenico Dolce said after their final D&G show in 2011: “We don’t want to be the richest men in the cemetery. We love trends, but we want to stay in our mood, our style. If you appreciate it, I appreciate it.”

Alta Moda is Dolce & Gabbana—Sicily-infused, lace-dripped, Baroque, wantonly Catholic—but on diamond-spiked steroids. A roster that now stands at nearly 200 clients supports a full, freestanding atelier in Milan. Each collection is accompanied by a jewelry offering—also handmade. The manner in which it operates is willfully antiquated, for the sake of fantasy: All communication between client and atelier, for instance, must be handwritten. And instead of a quick in-then-out show, each presentation is staggered over several days to allow appointments and several lunches, dinners, and a closing party—each event an opportunity for clients to wear their pieces as well as to buy more.

Last Friday Dolce & Gabbana presented what aficionados argued afterward that it might be the most sensually overwhelming Alta Moda collection yet. Last July, after Capri, the designers decided to take their inspiration from La Scala—Milan’s 18th-century opera house—and arranged a meeting with its artistic director, Alexander Pereira, in November to ask permission to use the house’s vintage ballet posters as motifs in the collection. More in hope than expectation, Dolce also inquired if there might be any chance of holding their show in the theater—something never done before—because, he said: “If I hadn’t asked the question, it would have kept bothering me.” Pereira agreed, and Gabbana added: “Afterward, I was trying to keep a straight face, but in the car home I was screaming. For us to be here is amazing—like touching the sky with your finger.” The designers said they have both been coming here since they were age 7 or so—Dolce’s regular box is number 17. “La Scala is Italy—it is Verdi, Pavarotti, Toscanini, Rossini, Bolle,” said Dolce. “And it is more than Italy, too—it is Nureyev, it is Callas.”

Dolce & Gabbana Mens Collection Presented First

The show was interwoven with performances from the dancer Roberto Bolle and members of La Scala’s company and school, choreographed by him. The first movement of clothes homaged the attire of ballet: Typically teamed with mink shorts or silk cady trousers and flat, jeweled boots, there was a series of feminized men’s corpetto jackets, in silk brocade or soft alligator, decorated with gemstones and painted leather curlicues that came lined in mink with a silk raffia-effect trim. Slowly, the focus panned from stage to audience. A series of 15 or so black dresses, some cantilevered at the hip, some with eye-ambush detail at the neckline, all sensuous, slunk past. Two dresses, their skirts amplified with golden boning, were one-offs made in silk tulle hand-painted with florals or etched with silver-streaked orbs—vintage fabrics sourced by the Alta Moda team. Those vintage stage bills were used in a finale of tulle fantasy-ballerina gowns. Accessories included mink clutch bags and a pair of shoes handmade of filigreed gold, with what appeared to be a ruby inset in each toe: Each weighed about a pound.

During the show, clients noted the pieces that most caught their eye. And at a lunch of cotoletta alla Milanese afterward held in the foyer of La Scala under the eye of a statue of Rossini, they began to order—via a staff of Alta Moda ambassadors—or made arrangements to view and commission personalized versions. As one client said at that lunch: “What I like is that I know what I buy here is mine, for me only. It is exquisite. And to be here to see it is beautiful, too.”

During the last two years, the Milan Alta Moda shows have ended with a dinner, then a party—typically raucous—and then the guests disperse back to their real (unreal) worlds. This season, however, another 24 hours has been added to the schedule to allow for the Alta project’s newest category: Alta Sartoria.

Held at lunchtime, this is a version of Dolce & Gabbana’s amplified couture, but for men. It came about, said Gabbana, after the husbands, partners, or otherwise significant masculine others of Alta Moda clients began asking for pieces of their own. When one female client from a small nation in Asia bought a gown hand-printed with a re-creation of a Canaletto at the Alta Moda Venice show in 2013, her husband asked for a jacket in the same material—but the designers were initially unable to provide it because they did not have the rights to re-create the painting on a second garment. They got it to him eventually, then decided to create this new masculine Alta venture.

Some of the Women Collection

“They have their own style of life,” said Gabbana, “and this allows them to have total creativity in choosing what they want for that life. So this is not just a fashion show: The clients can choose what they want—anything—in any color they want, or material. Or they can ask for something different. It looks grandiose and magnificent, but we are trying to present it with simplicity. We want a simple, friendly relationship with our clients.”

Held in the newly refurbished primo piano of Palazzo Labus, the 16th-century building (refurbished in the 19th century by the studio of Piermarini, which also worked on La Scala) on Corso Venezia that houses the 25-tailor Dolce & Gabbana Sartoria, this men’s collection was barely less extravagant than the women’s that preceded it. Yet it began gently, with a series of classical suiting—often double-breasted, clinically fitted, in canonical patterns, with foulard ties, pocket squares, and floral buttonholes. An astrakhan hat and scarf teamed with a frogged double-breasted overcoat, and shiny pinned slippers augured an acceleration of va-voom: white suiting with cavalry flashed trousers, kaleidoscopically brocaded and pinned evening coats, an outrageous purple-lined evening dressing-gown coat worn with mink mittens. One look starred a fox bomber jacket that Gabbana had originally commissioned for himself—“and it is fantastic, amazing. But when am I going to wear it?” The show eddied to its finale on a tide of reinterpreted evening classics—white tie, shortened tailcoats, tuxedos—with more look-at-me slippers. My favorite looks incorporated the Sartoria’s customizable silk pajamas—one of its strongest-selling categories—into a deeply louche approximation of daywear. The overall emanation was bohemian tsarist gilded by Fabergé. When Domenico Dolce walked the runway afterward, he clutched his head as if to fend off the applause.

Tonight, Palazzo Labus will host the final installment in this two-day, both-gender, entirely immersive wardrobe proposition for the 21st-century supranational superrich. The dress code? “Express Yourself”—which entirely sums up the more-is-more, artisan-realized, quintessential excess of this entirely atypical fashion project.

Not Ordinary Fashion

As We Begin Haute Couture Week Fall 2015 Let’s Remember The People Who Create The Details

This is one of my favorite documentary behind the scenes films. This film was commissioned by The Royal Ontario Museum which shows the craftsmanship and artistry of the men and women who create the amazing clothing that’s almost a lost art.
On this blog you will notice that I will often refer to the details. It’s my passion. People say the devil is in the details, I say the details are heavenly.

He’s Baaaaaack! Some thoughts on John Galliano’s return to Maison Margiela

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John Galliano has returned to fashion with a triumphant debut for Maison Margiela and the Martin is gone. In total there were 24 looks. I’ve posted a few hear that I liked.
Presenting his spring 2015 couture collection in London, rather than the usual Paris slot, the former Dior designer chose an anonymous office block setting – how fitting, considering Martin Margiela is a man ironically famed for his invisibility.

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Handing over the house keys to one of the most high-profile designers ever was surely a risk for MM’s uniform ‘collective’, but one that seems to have paid off as the artisanal collection emerged.

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Perfectly deconstructed tuxedos and pitch-perfect column gowns were quick to remind us that Galliano’s tailoring skills are second-to-none, while surrealist embellishments (a razor cut coat breast covered with patent shells in a sort of latex lobster look) showed us that he can still come up with kooky-cool new concepts aplenty.

He had plenty of supporters there such as Anna Wintor and others.

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But it was the show’s finale that really struck a chord with the audience, as the previous looks emerged again in calico toile form, tacked with instructions and handwritten notes. Partly, perhaps, a reference to his original debut as a graduate in 1984, and partly, of course, to remind everyone that the new Galliano is still a work in progress.

Photo Credit: Marcu Tondo / Indigitalimages.com

 

Dreamy

Photo:I love this dress. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Christian Dior designed it.  Yards and yards of tule and lace. Tiers and layers at different lengths, full, unique and inventive.  This silhouette in the 1950’s was unique to Christian Dior.  A picture of it hangs in the Salon in Paris. It has everything I can think of that makes me feel dreamy about fashion. It’s a delightful confection, full of life and the glamour of anticipation of something wonderful and wistful about to happen or has just happened. Sigh . . .

photo credit unknown, I do not own these photos

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It’s so exciting to see the artisans work!

For most designers it’s in the details, but just how do those intricate embellishments come to be? Here is a rare glimpse inside Paris’ iconic Maison Hurel, which has been creating embroideries for haute couture clients like Chanel and Valentino since 1870. Legendary design houses, including Saint Laurent, J. Mendel, Jason Wu, Gucci, Tom Ford, and Roberto Cavalli have been calling on Hurel to enhance their collections with unique fabrics, exquisite stitching, and dazzling beadwork.

Here We Go!!!

Well this is my first post. eeeeeek! I wonder if other bloggers feel like this. I’m really a mess. Well this will be the first of many many discussions we have together.  This is were we will talk about fashion, from everything to why Haute Couture to what your walking out the door in. But my passion the thing that makes my heart sing are the details of garments created by talented and beyond talented designers.  I have a blog on tumblr take a look and see what I’m talking about. So  I asked my tumblr followers what they would like to hear me talk about.  They gave me lots and lots of great ideas. Soooo wish me luck!

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