Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana debuted its first-ever couture collection dubbed Alta Moda to a select group in Sicily in the remote seaside town of Taormina over several days. Only three members of the press were invited along with various members of Vogue including US editor Anna Wintour. Guests included celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Stephanie Seymour and 80 potential customers who had traveled from Qatar, Russia, China, the US, Germany and Japan to attend.
Dolce & Gabbana’s dive into the high-end comes less than a year after the design duo shuttered their less expensive diffusion line D&G. This couture collection was conceived six years ago, and took six-months to produce.
Stefano Gabbana told the Daily Telegraph: "When we started out 27 years ago, our dream was to become a maison like Chanel, old Chanel. And now, maybe, this dream is coming true."
The couture weekend started with guests being treated to Bellini's Bel Canto opera Norma in the ancient Roman amphitheatre. Later in the evening there was a fireworks display set to Verdi's Valzer Brillante, and dancing. The show itself was staged in the former monastery of San Domenico. Clothing sent down the runway includes baroque influenced cocktail dresses and gowns, with the beading and handwork that is expected at a couture presentation.
Much of the collection took its cues from traditional romantic Sicilian garb. Domenico Dolce, who was born on the island, told the Telegraph: "This is our style. It is not trend, I do not care if it is cool. Prêt-à-porter is different, it is about cool and how many covers will we get this season. Here, we are completely free. So for me this is not work but pleasure."
Perhaps the most dramatic thing that happened at the couture debut wasn’t even the clothes but that four people fainted from the heat over the course of the weekend, including two tailors, and two guests.
Those incidents didn’t seem to put a damper on the debut. The show is already considered a success—one Russian customer reportedly already ordered several pieces from the collection and other orders are expected. A second Alta Moda show is planned for Shanghai in November.