Milan kicked off its first Digital Fashion Week on Tuesday with two live runway shows on the schedule, including from heavyweights Dolce & Gabbana, to send out a message of “positivity.”
Running through Friday, this “phygital” fashion week – featuring both physical and digital shows – presented the Men’s Spring/Summer 2021 collections, as well as men’s and women’s pre-collections, with about 40 brands answering the call.
This is the third such show after London and Paris and Italy’s first fashion week since the coronavirus crisis.
Dolce and Gabbana (D&G), the luxury Italian fashion house, Wednesday became one of the first to hold a ‘physical fashion week’ in today’s turbulent Covid-19 times.
Etro, an older Italian retail brand, beat D&G by a day to be the first-ever fashion brand to hold a physical fashion show, at the ongoing Milan Fashion Week.
For the first physical fashion show in Milan since the coronavirus outbreak in February, Etro opted for the garden of the Four Seasons Hotel in the heart of the city’s Golden Triangle luxury shopping district. Veronica and Kean Etro, creative directors of the women’s and men’s lines respectively, wanted an informal gathering celebrating the simple pleasure of being together again.
To the tune of some of Ennio Morricone’s most famous and touching compositions, performed live by the Ensemble Testori Orchestra, a diverse cast of male and female models negotiated a sunken gravel path wearing the brand’s men’s spring and women’s resort 2021 collections.
In keeping with the overall spirit of the season, the Etro siblings developed a quotidian wardrobe of real, wearable clothes. While they usually travel with the mind to exotic destinations to find the inspiration, this time the designers focused more on the journey rather than the final destination, reflecting on what is really desirable and relevant for them and their audience.
Their creative exploration surely started from the brand’s textile archives, where they not only found the inspiration to design new variations of the label’s signature Madras checks, colorful stripes and paisley motifs, but also to source vintage cloths which were mixed and matched to create charming patchworks on jackets and denim pants.
The collection featured a compilation of Etro’s essentials, spanning from deconstructed men’s suits and intarsia shirts to fluid, breezy maxidresses worn with suede outerwear or sartorial blazers. A new camouflage motif incorporated tropical flowers and wild animals, while the tonal looks with crewnecks in vibrant tangerine and green matched with coordinated pants echoed a very Milanese, timeless and effortless way of dressing.
The selection of accessories, including paisley duffle bags and maxi foldable styles to pack in a suitcase, also evoked the world of travel and the nomadic, globetrotting spirit of the Etro fashion house.
DOLCE & GABBANA
Fashion weeks are usually defined by glitzy street style photos, excessive Instagram posting from stylish influencers, and extravagant in-person runway shows. But not during a global pandemic. The traditional fashion show and seasonal model have been in the midst of a transformation for years. As this month’s fashion week went digital, we’ve seen unbridled creativity from Louis Vuitton, Prada, Loewe, JW Anderson, Dior, and countless others. However, leave it to Dolce & Gabbana to zig when others zag, and instead opt for a socially distanced, but still physical, presentation.
It comes as no surprise that the Italian luxury fashion house chose to march to the beat of its own drummer. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have never shied away from doing and saying as they please, no matter the consequences. This isn’t to say that the Dolce show flew in the face of the moment, though. Instead of holding the show at their long-standing venue, the Metropole theater, Dolce & Gabbana opted for a new location: the outdoor garden campus of Humanitas University. (Guests were asked to physically distance and wear face masks, too.) The connection to this new spot? Dolce & Gabbana has been funding medical scholarships since last year, and has donated further to the university’s study of the coronavirus.
The collection that was sent down the runway was inspired by the Gio Ponti-designed Parco dei Principi Hotel, which sits on the Italian coastline. That meant clothes in shades of blue and white (a nod to how the beaming building meets the sea) with no shortage of loud prints or eye-catching silhouettes—mellower gear for a work-from-home world, but not without some typical D&G opulence.
– Rutuja Shinde