22-Aug, 04:05

22:27, September 26 131 0

2016-09-26 22:27:08
Fashion Review: Dolce & Gabbana Serve Up Some Comfort Food and a Trend (or Two)

MILAN — As much change and confusion as there has been so far this fashion season — what with the see-now/shop-now splinter movement, the let-us-entertain-you faction and the men-and-women-together contingent all trying to overturn ye olde system — by the final afternoon of the Milan shows, with three cities down and one to go, certain broad trends had begun to coalesce.

Big shoulders and high-waisted pants, for example? There they were in techno fabrics and floral dresses at Salvatore Ferragamo, currently between designers (the last creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti, left last March, and he has not yet been replaced), and currently going for the simplest common denominator. There’s not a unique signature there, but it does dip into what has been a ubiquitous 21st-century take on the last great glass ceiling-smashing moment (yes, the 1980s), spurred on by the Vetements effect.

Gingham and primary stripes? Present and accounted for at Arthur Arbesser, in apple-green jackets and iridescent trench coats, dusted with an overlay of Swarovski crystals like spun sugar, and mixed in with bright red-and-blue-striped cavalry separates. The show was held in a former military stable that has become Milan’s museum of technology.

Backstage before his show, Mr. Arbesser said he was thinking about childhood uniforms, and certainly those little checks are redolent of more uncomplicated times, which could provide some welcome psychic time travel at a very complicated time. Whatever the reason, gingham is everywhere, along with sunshine yellow, thus far the most omnipresent color of the collections. Perhaps because of what is a clear desire on many designers’ parts for...

Southern comfort and escapism. See Missoni, where Angela Missoni shrugged and said, “I just wanted something simple and easy,” by way of explanation for her signature knit or lace tank dresses in layers of landscape shades and metallics, either brushing the ankles or cropped to the upper thigh, sometimes with a sweater slung just so at the hip. And see Dolce & Gabbana, where the designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce went “Tropico Italiano” amid palm fronds and coconut husks.

At least that’s what I could see, anyway, watching the livestream on my computer: The New York Times, for reasons never exactly specified to me by the brand but rooted in events before my time with the newspaper, is not invited to the show.

However, given that this season the designers had a host of social media celebrities in their audience, it seemed right in line with their own approach to embrace the digital experience and attend remotely (“Millennials in Milan,” went the excited email announcement, announcing the presence of Lucky Blue Smith, Luka Sabbat, Cameron Dallas and Sofia Richie, along with about 15 others). Just as their show, viewed on my laptop screen, seemed right in line with the general “fly me to Capri” mood. Read: Get me out of this depressing time period in which we all find ourselves.

Instead, give me roses! And sunflowers! And tutti-frutti sequins!

Well, you can understand it. Who wouldn’t want a little sorbet fantasy now and then sprinkled among your black lace sheaths and ruffled white cotton shirting, even your majorette pantsuits (the resurgence of the pantsuit is another trend): the bread and butter of the Dolce & Gabbana business?

Although speaking of foodstuffs, a little more puzzling were the sheaves of dried spaghetti and free-floating penne pasta prints on black silk; the ice cream cones on slouchy pajama suiting; and the fish swimming across a white pencil skirt. Also the glass olive oil decanters and utensils on a blush-colored, full-skirted sundress, the sack dress made out of what looked like rough linen printed to resemble a canned tomato label, and the minidress sporting a pizza.

It appeared to be pepperoni.

Maybe thinking about all that tropical warmth and the comfort of away days got Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana thinking about comfort food. Maybe they were wondering what might satisfy the millennial appetite. Maybe they decided it had more to do with what might make the most viral picture than what might make the most viable garment. (Pizza probably has a broader appeal than, say, the classical putti and madonnas silk-screened on basic tees, and it’s certainly more eye-catching than the elaborately embroidered denim, which seemed both beautiful and too detailed for the small screen.)

Or maybe you just had to be there. Plus ça change, and all that.