Ten’s To See: ‘From The Heart To The Hands: Dolce and Gabbana’ At Milan’s Palazzo Reale

An open love letter to Italian culture, Dolce and Gabbana’s brand new exhibition From the Heart to the Hands takes a dazzling look back at the pinnacle of its design excellence. Unfurling on the Piano Nobile of Palazzo Reale – Milan’s most important culture and art institution – until July 31, the sprawling retrospective toasts to the house’s Alta Moda, or haute couture, arm which made its debut in 2012 with a breathtaking catwalk presentation in Taormina, Sicily. 

Alta Moda takes an unconventional approach to the world of luxury, imbuing one-of-a-kind clothes with all the flamboyant elegance we expect from couture, but it does it in a humorous, irreverent and subversive way. Like anything worthwhile, it starts with the heart, with love, passion and a dream, before it’s brought to life by the deft hands of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Also tapping into opulence, excess and all-things-Italy, which have been the enduring inspiration for all D&G designs since the brand’s start in 1984, From the Heart to the Hands is its first-ever Alta Moda-focussed exhibition. 

Curated by Florence Müller – an esteemed art and fashion curator, professor, internationally renowned author and frequent D&G collaborator – and produced by IMG, the brand’s long-standing prominence as, not just an icon, but also an intrepid purveyor of Italian style comes to the fore of the display. Spanning 10 rooms in total filled with exceptional fashions pulled from past Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria, and Alta Gioielleria collections, the exhibition is split into a series of themes that explore the specific inspiration of each collection. This includes visual arts, architecture, artisanal craft, Italian cities and their regional topography, music, opera, ballet, theatre, folk traditions, innovation and of course la dolce vita

Amid sumptuous sprawls of the most luxurious materials and decadent embroidered dresses, the exhibition also features previously unseen works by a number of visual artists who’ve been commissioned to enter into a dialogue with Dolce and Gabbana’s lavish universe. This includes artworks created from AI and NFTs, not to mention a number of pieces which have been selected for their capacity to encapsulate both the spirit and traditional art forms of the Italian cities highlighted. Think Murano and Venetian glass chandeliers and Byzantine mosaics. At its heart, a live and in-person representation of the designers’ atelier, busy with seamstresses and tailors at work, pays homage to the hand-made and D&G’s respect for the Italian artisans who’ve been instrumental in bringing its Alta Moda collections to life.

Over the weekend, the exhibition’s star-studded opening night saw some of the most beloved celebutantes, counting Cher, Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell, Anitta, Lupita Nyong’o, Isabella Rossellini and Helen Mirren decamp to the Italian capital for an intimate dinner inside the hallowed halls of the museum followed by an evening soirée bubbling with cocktails and dancing at the D&G Martini Bar. 

This spring, dive into the dream of Dolce and Gabbana Alta Moda. But if you can’t make it out to Milan, not to worry because once the Palazzo Reale-based exhibition closes, From the Heart to the Hands will embark on an international tour of some of the world’s most significant cultural institutions with specific locations yet to be announced.

Photography courtesy of Dolce and Gabbana. Purchase your tickets here.


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