Dolce&Gabbana Summer 2017 Men`s Fashion Show

The place was a club called No Ties, the time was eons back in the mists of history (okay, the early 1980s), and the occasion was the first time Domenico Dolce ever met Stefano Gabbana. So, do the designers remember what the DJ was playing at the very moment they first locked eyes? “Sì! ‘Africa’ by Toto,” said Domenico Dolce, before presenting a collection that majored on a hard-to-resist medley of musical influence that featured some finely designed new-silhouette pieces and which was—as per—powerfully dosed with this label’s house-special blend of in-your-face Italianate pizzazz.

If “Africa” provided the musical amber that keeps Dolce and Gabbana’s first encounter forever pristine in their memory, today’s was delivered by The Hot Sardines. This New York jazz ensemble’s powerfully-tonsiled chanteuse Elizabeth Bougerol had all but the most blasé menswear followers nodding and applauding in between numbers. After two warm-up tunes, one with the intro line of “Boys, boys, boys” signaled the arrival of Presley Gerber in a lean and long-bodied black suit on a checked runway lined with ornate palm tree lanterns: the set was a sort of Jazz Age Sicilian speakeasy. Next up, post-Presley, was Rafferty Law in a saxophone-print bomber and shirt with cavalry flashed pants. These two members of the designers’ seminal-millennial guest list had been promoted from front row to center-stage, and they made fine front men.

As this almost 100-look collection unfolded it became clear this was a multi-genre ode to music and musicianship played out in cloth. The great boom box bags reflected the oversize street-sport shapes of linen silk pants, tees, and sweats painted in faux-naïf nightclub vignettes or sequined and patched with designer themed band patches. A gold jacquard palm tree evening jacket or a patched military majordomo outfit could have come from a ’50s swing band stage. Patched black leather jackets were hard rock, multicolored leather blousons with collegiate detail more soft rock. Like the selfie-snapping sexy tourists in the last womenswear campaign, many of these looks came accessorized with headphones and phone cases whose various motifs—from sequined cassette tapes to saxophones—were in tune with the rest. Single-letter alphabet rings spelled out D-A-N-C-E or L-O-V-E on the wearers’ knuckles.

Very discreetly, the designers sometimes sampled very specific elements of their own greatest hits, too; the oversized, top-stitched, and check-cuffed workers jacket teamed with flat cap and palm tree silk pants showed serious kinship with their earliest menswear collections. They also delivered some new top notes: A three-quarter-length pant was structured through three pleats that accordioned out from a single stitch just south of the greater trochanter. A series of polo-kaftan hybrids adapted from their Alta Moda collection that came in the recurring leopard and tiger animal prints were a new riff on two old standards.

The finale was a medley too, a patterned cacophony of silk shirting, fine gauge-knit, and silk linen tees in the recurring patterns of the collection, or a series of imagined posters for Southern Italian music festivals from way back when: Palermo Blues festival, Agrigento Mambo, Taormina Swing. Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti this was a Dolce & Gabbana menswear collection, turned up to 11.

by Luke Leitch

Dolce&Gabbana Summer 2017 Men`s Fashion Show