Dispatches from Milan: Dolce & Gabbana and Marni

Fairytale in Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana and modern Marni

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By: Rebecca Lowthorpe Follow @Rebecca_ELLE

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1. Dolce & Gabbana 2. Marni

Once upon a time in Sicily… there were valiant knights in shining armour, fair maidens in floral organza gowns, Sicilian widows in black lace, beautiful princesses in bejewelled dresses, one Red Riding Hood in a scarlet coat with a huge fox fur hood, one Sleeping Beauty in a white gown with a golden jacket, wicked witches in black brocade coats decorated with silver and gold castle keys and knaves in cheeky fur knickers.

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Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana took us back to Sicily once again, but this season they had recast their precious island as a medieval fairytale. This was Dolce & Gabbana theatre at its best. The curtains swung back to reveal a winter scene – snow flurried from the ceiling, dry ice poured from the floor and the set was a wood of wintry trees from which hung a decadent red swing.

The craftsmanship of the clothes was exquisite as they melded knight with damsel – a jewelled hood and golden boots like armour with a cape festooned with naïve embroideries of foxes and flowers. Sure, some of it was costume befitting La Scala in Milan, but for all that – and no Dolce show would be complete without it - there were incredible clothes too, made with a light hand despite their decoration.

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Left to right: Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana

The silhouettes of coats, jackets and dresses were actually simple, some of them rendered in silver brocade, others adorned with nothing more than black flocking. Interspersed throughout was plenty of their signature strict black tailoring – curvy black dresses, the kind Monica Bellucci arrived at the show wearing, and, of course those dreamy sweeping gowns destined to be worn at the upcoming Oscars. What’s so wonderful about seeing a Dolce & Gabbana show is that you are transported into their world which doesn’t include a pair of the season’s wide cropped trousers, say, or doesn’t give a literal translation of the 1960s. They do their own thing. And we love them for it.

You can rely on Marni to ignite the Sunday morning slot in Milan. Not with a circle of fire like Roberto Cavalli – nothing so literal would ever cross the mind of Marni’s Consuelo Castiglione - but in the sense of strong, imaginative clothes that make magazine fashion directors swoon, Marni is a gift.

The brand is currently enjoying a renaissance because of its bold, brave collections that incorporate all the freshness of fashion now but put together in a way that could only be Marni. That means big, sweeping silhouettes, exaggerated with occasional tiers of ruffles, oversized jackets and trousers that have a strong sporty feel, powerful prints worn neck-to-toe, vivid shades like emerald green, pink, red, blue, yellow, mint, and texture – Marni went wild with texture - fur, feathers and stones tracing the hem of a jacket or the hips of a skirt. It’s rich stuff. But for all the lavishly embellished pieces there’s a punchy plain sporty look that was all about fashion’s new silhouette: the zip through jacket and a pair of wide cropped trousers.

As for the accessories – a swag of fur to wrap the shoulders, a neat framed bag and those shoes – Marni is a much-copied pioneer of the-shoe-of-the-season and these were no exception – flat and chunky, of course, with a big gold bar across the toe.

Click here for the full Dolce & Gabbana collection

See the full Marni collection

A-List Love Dolce & Gabbana

Models off duty MFW A/W 2014

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See all the bags from A/W 2014

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