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22 photos from Dolce & Gabbana's latest show: an ode to Florence

The Italian design duo unveiled their Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria collections in the Tuscan city

As the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is famed for its arts, culture and architecture, as well as its craftsmanship. So it is only fitting that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – who have long been committed to showcasing Italy’s rich heritage – would eventually deliver an homage to the city.

Dolce & Gabbana’s latest Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria collections (their answer to Paris’s haute couture) were unveiled in Florence this weekend, in a suitably bold and uplifting ode to the Tuscan city.

“We have always looked upon the Florentine Renaissance and its protagonists with great admiration,” the design duo said in their show notes.

The eternal beauty contained in these masterpieces is so unique, that there are no words to describe it

"The arts, culture and knowledge reached such heights in that period that they continue to be taken as a model of perfection to this day. If we look at the works of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli or Piero della Francesca, to name just a few, we cannot help but be enchanted by them, even though more than five centuries have passed since their execution. The eternal beauty contained in these masterpieces is so unique, that there are no words to describe it."

The women’s Alta Moda collection was presented on the grounds of the historic Villa Bardini, a 17th-century building set within expansive gardens and offering panoramic views over the city.

“The beauty of the park, with the harmony of the colours and the variety of the flowers, inspired many of our sartorial creations,” Dolce and Gabbana explained. “The choice of fabrics, materials like straw or raffia, and of artisanal workmanship carried out entirely by hand by skilled Italian craftsmen, seeks to pay tribute to the extraordinary nature of this place and to the Florentine manufactory tradition.”

The designers reinterpreted Florence's world-renowned monuments in clothing form – referencing the techniques used to create intricate mosaics in marble and stone; or juxtaposing fabrics such as brocade, velvet, leather, silk and lace, embellished with crystals, pearls and beads, to capture the three dimensionality of landmarks such as the Duomo or the facade of the Palazzo Vecchio.

They also drew inspiration from the many plant species that thrive in the gardens of Villa Baldini, rendering roses, irises, wisteria and dahlias in delicate embroidery.

The shapes, volume and proportions of the collection’s suits, coats and outerwear paid tribute to the artistry of Italian tailoring, recognising Florence as integral to Italy’s fashion heritage.

The men’s Alta Sartoria collection, meanwhile, was unveiled in the Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento, which the duo describe as “the fulfillment of a dream that until a few months ago we thought would be impossible to realise”.

As the primary symbol of Florence’s dominance and power during the Renaissance period, Palazzo Vecchio was built in 1299 to host the city council. The Salone dei Cinquecento, or Hall of the Five Hundred, was built in just seven months between 1495 and 1496, and in terms of artistic and historic value, is the largest and most important room at the storied site.

Panelled ceilings, large wall frescoes, gold decorative features and imposing sculptures formed the backdrop to Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Sartoria presentation.

With heavily brocaded and embellished tunics, jackets and robes; oversized insignia; weighty collars that could double as breastplates; densely woven fabrics that resembled chainmail; and intricate embellishments to rival the most expressive tapestries, this was a collection that spoke of history and power, worthy of the Medicis who presided over Florence in its heyday.

Updated: September 8, 2020 04:55 PM

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