Replacing clothes with clients-Inside Dolce et Gabbana’s Fall 2017 Milan show

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Imagine being a renowned fashion designer that have been repeating himself in terms of designing a collection over and over again, yet, you do have to present a Fall 2017 Fashion week collection-what do you do? You stage a fashion show of such a magnitude that no one actually pays attention to the clothes-and then you send your archived designs revisited on the catwalk, expecting (and getting!) high praise from the fashion media-problem solved!

That’s what more or less what happened before the Dolce and Gabbana Milan 2017 fashion show, a runway tour-de-force extravaganza, where the design duo replaced many of its models with famous bloggers, celebrity offspring, socialites, and influencers. It did seem that they embraced diversity by casting girls, men, and women of different backgrounds to present an eclectic collection –then got them talking about it on social media. The social media reach of the cast appeared to be the main focus of the house since assembling names such as Coco Brandolini, Kenya Kinski-Jones, Rafferty (son of Jude) Law, Lucky Blue Smith,,Luka Sabbat, Halle and Chloe Bailey, plus several loyal clients made for a vast horizontal and vertical media reach (read :thousands of Instagram followers) effectively reaching the number one consumer group- the millenials.

Still, a fashion show is about the clothes not about the clients. What can be said for them was that they were so ornate to the point of baroque and so overtly ‘Dolce et Gabbana archives’ that resembled caricatures of designs, almost costumey. There were the usual sequined dresses, full-length furs, embroidered denim, jumpers embroidered with felines in the most maximalistic sense. There was such an effort for the clothes to look luxurious that ended appearing… cheap, yes cheap and I don’t only mean the Justin Bieber T-shirt!
What started as a celebration of family — the family the brand has assembled around the House’s aesthetics and history – it fired backwards, as no one seemed to pay much attention to the clothes but to the ‘celebrities’ on and off the runway. If Dolce et Gabbana wished to become their own ‘cult leaders’, this show was indeed a successful business move. If they want to be perceived as fashion designers though, they need to shift things-and fast!

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