D&G’s closure remains a baffling decision as Prada unveils a collection that is definitely not 1950s and definitely not America.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Milan fashion week’s kings of bling, can make anything look glamorous – even the usually rather downbeat business of closing a 26-year-old fashion label.
Thursday’s D&G catwalk show, right, was as ever a carnival parade of bouncy, youthful glamour. D&G is the younger sister label to Dolce & Gabbana, and the D&G aesthetic has always appeared to be aimed at a woman with the taste of a cheerleader and the bank balance of a CEO.
An illuminated chequerboard of silk scarf prints lit up the backdrop to the catwalk, so that the models high-stepping to hectic remixes of Prince and James Brown appeared like crazed, colourful brides walking down the aisle of a cathedral to fashion.
But, minutes after the designers took their smiling catwalk bow, and just as the audience filed out into the Milanese sunshine, a statement appeared in the inboxes of the show attendees informing them that Dolce and Gabbana are shutting the cheaper D&G label in order to concentrate on their main collection.
It was a very D&G ending. A wistful swansong in the catwalk tradition (rose petal confetti, operatic soundtrack, crocodile tears) would not have been appropriate; true to its brand, D&G went down smiling. In any case, the designers are keen to portray the decision as a positive one, rather than a defeat. “We are going through a very happy moment of our lives,” the statement began. “From the upcoming seasons, D&G will become part of Dolce & Gabbana, giving even more strength and energy to our collections.”


 The Italian fashion capital showed little of New York’s childlike joy for spring 2012, but Prada offered conservative sex appeal, and D&G jolted away the malaise with rambunctious clothes in its swansong show—the line is being folded into the main Dolce & Gabbana collection. By Robin Givhan.
With the opening boom-boom of bass, the Spring 2012 runway shows began in Milan with a stream of black, camel, and wimpy, sea-foam blue clothes worn by models with hair that looked days overdue for a shampoo. It seemed as though little joy would be coming from the Italian fashion capital.
Milan was wholly disconnected from New York, where a week earlier, designers had defined the coming season with childlike joy: bright colors, kooky prints, and a raucous spirit. New York designers served themselves up as a giddy antidote to war, economic decline, and the mournful remembrances of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Milan, while not sober, has been more knowing and more ambivalent. It has not been in a mood to celebrate—at least not in such obvious and chirpy ways. Gucci’s Frida Giannini kicked off the week here with a sexy and glamorous collection that she herself described as “hard core” art deco. It didn’t so much exude joyfulness, as give off an attitude of vaguely reckless debauchery.
Giannini’s loose-fitting flapper dresses, with their architectural patterns outlined in gold and black paillettes, recalled late nights of dancing, coolly bopping jazz, and the kind of bracing cocktails that would leave midnight carousers tight—as a Hemingway character would say—after only one round. (The dresses and tuxedo-style trousers were so glamorous that one is even willing to forgive Giannini for those trousers with a pair of horse heads printed on the tush.)
Her collection hit all the notes that define the Gucci brand. It looked luxurious with its simple patterns lushly detailed with sequins and rhinestones. It was sexy and sophisticated. But it also had sleek and easy silhouettes—nothing as fussy as the French might come up with, but nothing as relaxed and sporty as the Americans might generate.

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