In what Domenico Dolce called “the most authentic show we’ve done in our lives”, Dolce & Gabbana took their Alta Moda collection to the village of Alberobello to celebrate the culture and craftsmanship of Puglia. With its characteristic 14th century trulli huts, it made for incredible scenery: guests strolled through the streets of the village where locals dressed in traditional costume showcased local artisanal practices from basket-weaving to cactus art and handmade orecchiette, the Apulian pasta par excellence. As we reached the town square, framed in Apulian luminaria light decorations, models accompanied by village gentlemen with donkeys and goats presented an Alta Moda collection devoted to reflecting traditional Apulian life through couture-level constructions. “Obviously the collection is a dream but we want to mix it with reality. It’s not a pantomime, it’s not a theatre. All the work is real. We invented a lot of new kinds of embroidery by ourselves with all the guys,” Stefano Gabbana said, referring to the local expert craftspeople.
With an audience including Kim Kardashian, Helen Mirren, Angela Bassett, Christian Bale, Kris Jenner and Erling Haaland, the collection continued to draw on the black lingerie-centric 1990s sensibility of Dolce and Gabbana, so engrained in the Italian neorealism that couldn’t have had a better backdrop than Alberobello. The designers wove enormous hats in the conic image of trulli roofs, evoked the town’s iconography through intarsia in ballroom dresses and skirts, and created black apron dresses as a tribute to Italian kitchen culture. “Why not? Alta Moda is not just diamonds,” Dolce said. “I remember my mama, in my village, on a Saturday morning when she was cooking. It’s so important. So why don’t we make those ordinary clothes in an Alta Moda way?” After the show, guests walked back to the top of the village where we were treated to a traditional Alberobello dinner cooked by the residents of the village.
Over five days in Puglia, Dolce and Gabbana have hosted a series of out-of-this-world events and fashion shows for their illustrious private clients, devoted to their highest form of dressmaking, Alta Moda and the menswear equivalent, Alta Sartoria. On Friday, what Gabbana jokingly called “Dolce and Gabbana Fashion Week” kicked off in an Apulian masseria resort with a speech from Helen Mirren, local dance troupes and a performance by Diana Ross. Saturday was dedicated to Alta Giorelleria – the designers’ fine jewellery line – set in the 15th century fortress of Pettolecchia where acrobats and dancers staged an Ancient Roman performance followed by a black-tie dinner. “This is our great satisfaction. Our clients believe in our events and we get to show them these places that you’d never see on a holiday,” Dolce said. “Alta Moda is not just clothes. It’s not just gossip and movie stars. It’s a way of life.”
Photography courtesy of Dolce and Gabbana.