After the outings by Ermenegildo Zegna XXX and Emporio Armani, we dive into the offerings Dolce&Gabbana and Marni presented for the autumn/winter 2020 season. While the two Italian brands have a vastly different aesthetic, they both share a love of showmanship.
Upon entering the Metropol, the venue of the Dolce&Gabbana show, we were greeted with artisans of the house—tailors, shoemakers and knitters working on their craft, oblivious to the fashion crowd snapping away with their iPhones. The message from Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce could not be clearer: to block out all noise, and concentrate on what's paramount to the house—craft.
For their autumn/winter 2020 show titled 'The masters of art', Dolce&Gabbana went back to the roots of creation, to celebrate the artisans behind the scenes. The result? Their best collection in recent memory. “For me, it isn’t about fashion, it’s about style and identity," says Domenico Dolce. The collection sees the duo transmute the uniforms of the craftsman, and elevate it into an art form. Think harness pants, chest rigs, leather overalls and cargo pants, paired with massive shearling coats, sweaters, robes, impeccable tailoring and silk shirts.
It is easy to fall into the trap of having a collection look too drab when referencing workwear, but the duo's masterful balance of proportions is what sets it apart. Case in point: oversized chunky sweaters were worn with slim-fit trousers; and boxy shearling coats with a trim, tailored outfit. The leather craftsmanship in the collection—evident in the coats, high-waisted trousers, shirting and crossbody bags—was outstanding.
We prefer this version of Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, without the fanfare and noise of Instagram stars and kitschy prints, with a focus on what they do best—clothes.
Marni's creative director, Francesco Risso continues his subversive take on menswear for their autumn/winter 2020 collection. But with any Risso show—take for example their autumn/winter 2018 collection where the models rose from their seats and walked the show—it veered towards conceptual performance art, rather than a traditional fashion show.
The experience began the moment we stepped through the show space, going through a metal tunnel before arriving at the set. Then the models clad in Marni entered the rectangular runway venue.
The models that stood in the middle of the show started to 'awake', slowly swaying to the trance music. It’s was almost like a scene from the Walking Dead, except the cast were much better dressed.
Then the pace quickened and the models started moving at a manic pace, before eventually exiting the set, with only a few that remained. The whole experience subverts the crux of the modern fashion show; that is, to make it as social media friendly as possible. While the choreography made it hard for photography and videos, as a spectator watching it unfold live, the details were thoroughly thrust into the spotlight.
With oversized tailoring and shirts, and a melding of coats and knitwear, the silhouettes always had a contrast of oversized tops with fitted trousers, and vice versa. Prints and colours that normally don't make sense together somehow coalesced into a wonderful contrast.
We couldn't help but wonder: was the point of the whole theatrics a commentary on the direction of how social media has influenced fashion shows? To remind us to be in the present, and watch the show unfiltered without a phone screen?
It's refreshing that Risso continues to push boundaries. Even his take on the angle of sustainability—all the fabrics used in the collection was a patchwork of old materials and dead-stock from the 50s—saw no fancy upcycling tech involved. Just good old fashion creativity.
Sounds crazy in these modern times, but in the words of Marilyn Monroe, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”