Dolce & Gabbana celebrates 10 years of Alta Moda with a star-studded fashion show in Sicily

Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda events are always an exultant affair – a celebration of fashion, food, craftsmanship and culture – but this year, to mark 10 years since the launch of the quintessentially Italian response to the Haute couture duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have turned the dial up yet another notch.

As guests settled in front of Syracuse Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the historic center of Sicily‘s Ortygia island, Mariah Carey made a dramatic entrance, flanked by designers and draped in bodycon Dolce & Gabbana dress.

She took her place among an already stellar list of celebrity guests – an ever-youthful Sharon Stone, Helen Mirren in a voluminous striped dress, Drew Barrymore, Lupita Nyong’o, singer Ciara with her husband and children dressed in matching shades gold and white, Casey Affleck, Kris Jenner, Christian Bale, Monica Belluci, Heidi Klum and Vanessa Bryant.

This year’s anniversary event represented a homecoming for Dolce, who was born in Sicily, and was an ode to Syracuse, a city over 2,000 years old in the southeast of the island. “Siracusa is a special place for us,” Gabbana explained before the show. “It’s in the southernmost part of Sicily, facing Africa. I like the feeling, I like the atmosphere, I like the stones, the colors, the people.

Alta Moda’s presentation was preceded by a reconstruction of Cavalleria rusticana, a classic Italian opera by Pietro Mascagni from the late 1800s, on a podium set up in front of the famous cathedral. A story of passion, betrayal, family and ultimately tragedy, it set the tone for a drama-laden show. “Tonight we tried to create an experience that carries on the DNA of Dolce & Gabbana,” said Dolce.

The collection was a heartfelt love letter to the Sicilian woman, one of Dolce & Gabbana’s most enduring muses. In a marked departure from the brand’s signature prints and vibrant Mediterranean-inspired color palette, the collection has been rendered almost entirely in black. “If you ask someone, in their imagination, what the Sicilian woman is wearing, it’s black,” Gabbana said.

The collection of 106 outfits was a summary of the brand’s fundamental codes. Appearing at the top of a series of steps as the church bells rang, the opening look consisted of a short white dress with oversized sleeves in the shape of cherub statues. Then, life-size wings extending from the shoulders and voluminous wedding dresses covered in three-dimensional flowers.

Angelic white quickly gave way to its antithesis, black, in the form of laser-cut dresses and coat dresses, corsets, shrouds, veils, scarves and severe pencil skirts. Black lace, stiff corsetry, transparent stockings, games of transparency and religious iconography accentuate the omnipresent interplay between sensuality and modesty.

After taking Paris Fashion Week by storm, Saudi model Amira Al Zuhair walked the runway in a mid-calf black dress with subtle sheer panels on her legs, arms and stomach.

Pops of yellow, lime green, pink, red and orange ran through the otherwise dark palette, while oversized blazer dresses were loaded with gold embroidery, dazzling crystals or floral appliqués, and paired with boots covered with rhinestones or delicate, flowery tights. A hot pink micro skirt with matching cropped jacket shimmered powerfully as the model moved, while another silver dress suited a Marvel heroine.

“Alta Moda, for me, is all about surprises,” Gabbana said. “Every time we start a collection, I want to surprise myself. Each time is a challenge. I want to say something more. And I’m full of curiosity.”

Updated: July 10, 2022, 10:19 a.m.

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