Maestros of the Runway

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Dolce & Gabbana forever entices with its colorful, chic and Sicily-inspired designs.- By Lois Elfman

There’s something about the iconic Dolce & Gabbana that evokes a refined yet sensual emotion. With dynamic Italian boldness, the collections of Dolce & Gabbana celebrate life for men and women with impeccably constructed suits, exquisite yet comfortable shoes, beautiful dresses, elegant jewelry and timeless accessories.

“The clothes make me feel sexy, classy, beautiful and always confident. You feel empowered when you wear something that fits your body so well,” says Karina Smirnoff, professional dancer on the television show “Dancing with the Stars,” who wears Dolce & Gabbana for red-carpet events as well as in her everyday life.

Actress Meagan Good (“Think Like a Man,” “Californication”) says she’s even defied the rules of Hollywood about not being seen in the same thing twice because she’s so in love with a floral Dolce & Gabbana dress that fits her form and is incredibly comfortable.

“It’s stood the test of time, and it always looks great. It works with every hairstyle I have—whether short, long, light or dark—it’s just a beautiful dress,” says Good, who has also walked several red carpets in a favorite pair of Dolce & Gabbana leopard-print pumps.

Sicilian seductiveness and chic attire are the codes that the brand is seemingly founded upon—and the fashion house has continued to uphold the magnificence that it promises.

 

Behind the Name

It would be easy to think of Dolce & Gabbana as mythical muses who inspire from a distance, but nothing could be further from reality. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are creative geniuses with a passion for life, celebrating their vibrant Italian heritage in their brilliant creations.

They’ve turned the traditions, sensuality, culture and Mediterranean nature that define them into impeccably crafted work that men and women everywhere embrace.

Dolce was born in a small village in Sicily, and Gabbana grew up in Milan—their paths first crossing in 1980 at a Milan nightclub. Dolce had roots in fashion; his father was a tailor and his mother sold fabric and clothing. In addition to the hands-on experience, he studied fashion design. Gabbana has said fashion was not part of his early life, but he found himself drawn to it after studying graphic design.

In 1982, they began working together crafting creations that they sold where and when they could. Then in 1985, they received an invitation to show a women’s collection in Milan, which was met with great enthusiasm. Menswear debuted in 1990 and accessories followed soon after. Their collections received awards and accolades as well as met with international acclaim.

By the 1990s celebrities were embracing the clothes, and the brand expanded. Today it is nearly impossible to see a red-carpet or high-profile event without someone dressed in Dolce & Gabbana.

“Dolce & Gabbana have continued to have a classic, sleek look and feel to their clothes,” says wardrobe consultant Rebecca Matthews, who works with guests at The St. Regis Houston as a personal shopper. “They use only the best quality fabrics and their tailoring is second to none.”

 

Celebrating Women

Inspired by vibrant and voluptuous Italian actresses Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani, every Dolce & Gabbana women’s collection celebrates the female form. The women who wear the designs are sophisticated without being jaded and confident regardless of their size.

“Their dresses hug a woman’s curves yet never look too tight,” says fashion editor and stylist Karen Buscemi. “The label also has plenty of options for women who are looking for more coverage, such as knee-length skirts with jackets, lovely blouses and opulent capes and coats.”

Stylist and personal shopper Robanne Schulman, who works with guests of The St. Regis Atlanta, says she’s styled many clients in Dolce & Gabbana who do not wear a single-digit size. Depending on the season and the woman’s silhouette, there are usually a number of options.

“I’ve created looks based on their amazing jackets, skirts, dresses and suits,” says Schulman, who adds that one client wears Dolce & Gabbana for both professional life and social events. “For her, Dolce & Gabbana suits are work staples because they’re sharp and serious enough for Wall Street, yet feminine enough when balanced with one of the line’s striking blouses.

“The clothes are also great for her because of the amazing evening and cocktail pieces, which we are always including in her selections because of the many after-5 p.m. events she attends,” she says.

Fashion stylist Leslie Christen, a personal shopper for guests at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, says that the spring 2013 collection includes everything from easy-wearing shirts, shorts and T-shirt tops to more elaborate pieces like frothy dresses, basket skirts and corsets.

“All these pieces celebrate femininity and can cross over to a multitude of sizes,” Christen says. “My clients whom I dress in Dolce & Gabbana have a true sense of style, know their bodies and celebrate them. They’re looking for clothing that is ultra feminine and isn’t run of the mill.”

Dolce & Gabbana’s wearability outside the runway has long been an appeal. The collections have everyone from businesswomen to professional athletes adorning themselves in the iconic brand. Olympic figure skating champion Sarah Hughes, for example, selected Dolce & Gabbana to wear to the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby is known for its fashion-forward vibe, and of course the myriad of hats, so I wanted to be appropriate,” Hughes says. “I chose a knee-length floral chiffon Dolce & Gabbana dress, and it turned out to be perfect for the occasion. Although it suited the seasonal, spring-like weather, it can work anytime of the year.”

“They understand a woman’s body very well,” says Good, who has a leopard-print jacket she describes as looking like it was made for her. She greatly appreciates the undeniable quality of the clothes and the fact that they last. While stylists have certainly brought her Dolce & Gabbana clothes, most of the pieces in her wardrobe are items she’s selected because of the way they make her feel—confident and beautiful.

 

Men’s Attitude

A man that wears Dolce & Gabbana clothes exudes self-assurance and has a genuine interest in style. Unquestionably, the details in Dolce & Gabbana menswear are impeccable.

“Dolce & Gabbana is fashion forward and allows their men to show their personalities without screaming it in your face,” Matthews says.

Mark Montano, a fashion designer and author, says there is a wide range of options for men of all ages and shapes. “Younger men who are really fashion forward to older men who want classic tailored shirts and neckwear love their collections,” Montano says. “They’ve got such a great product across the board that most men could find something in a Dolce & Gabbana collection that would look very chic on them.

“I love their tailored men’s shirts because they have a bit of a slimmer fit,” he adds. “They use a beautiful cotton in their shirts that is so crisp.”

Matthews says the leather jackets are the “best looking jackets” he’s seen in a long time. “They have just the right amount of detail to make them classic and still look up to date,” he explains. “This is the investment piece for me. It will last forever.”

Schulman agrees, saying clients for whom she selected leather jackets years ago still wear them. She has also styled several men in Dolce & Gabbana coats and adds that their sweaters and jackets are staples for the winter season.

“Any man would look amazing in a Dolce & Gabbana tailored suit or leather jacket,” says Christen, who also praises the duo’s shoes and leather accessories.

 

Timeless Accessories

The winter 2013 accessories include new takes of the always-popular Dolce Bag and the Miss Sicily. Details include gold embroidery, classic lace, Sicilian romanticism and the Baroque spirit.

The latest Dolce Bag is available in four sizes: large, medium, small and mini, all featuring the immediately recognizable golden-colored lock that closes the bag along the center and the ornamental chain that connects the leather strap to the body of the bag.

The season’s collection will also feature two models of the Miss Sicily. The classic Miss Sicily will be structured and voluminous with an elegant shape, available in four sizes. Another interpretation boasts long lines and compact size.

“The purses are timeless, and the shoes always stand out and easily go with what I am wearing—from basic blacks to wild prints,” Smirnoff says. “I also love to add chunky ring and top it off with a pair of their sunglasses.”

Jewelry pieces can accentuate the clothing or dress up a plain outfit. “Dolce & Gabbana stays true to their design house aesthetic by creating jewelry that is sensual, spiritual and sentimental,” says fashion and jewelry stylist Shaye Strager. “The jewelry pays homage to the design duo’s beloved Italian heritage with crosses, icons of the Madonna, keys, coins and hearts.

“The bold, large cross earrings and dangling chandeliers pair nicely with options from the brand or your own perfect little black dress,” she adds.

Dolce & Gabbana’s new Mamma collection includes nine pieces of fine jewelry that pay homage to mothers. The rose, a favorite flower of both Dolce & Gabbana and a symbol of unconditional love, embellishes handmade necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings.

Great men’s accessories include the recently launched watches. Combining Dolce & Gabbana style with the finest of engineering as well as Swiss-made movements, these pieces breathe timelessness and opulence. The debut collection consists of three styles totaling 52 watches, including DS5, a COSC-certified chronograph and chronometer with the sophistication of white, yellow or pink gold or steel. The DG7 Gems sparkle with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds mounted on the dials.

 

See and Be Seen

In shopping for the holidays, Valentine’s Day or any special occasion, Schulman suggests the camel virgin wool coat with the black fur collar as a special gift for women.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to get a girlfriend or wife one of the scarves either,” she says. “My favorite from this season is the gray animal print with an unexpected blue that appears when wrapped around the neck.”

A woman looking to give her wardrobe a pop of color can always find a Dolce & Gabbana handbag that will spark an outfit … or even something more daring.

Buscemi says must-have Dolce & Gabbana women’s items are a corset top, a print skirt, a top-handle handbag and the leopard peep-toe pumps. A timeless Miss Sicily satchel is also “a gift she’ll keep forever,” she adds. For the expectant mother, she suggests the fabulous leopard-print diaper bag.

Christen says the dresses, cropped jackets and blouses, which can easily be paired with non-Dolce & Gabbana clothes, are wardrobe essentials. “Every woman needs a Dolce & Gabbana cape in their wardrobe,” she adds.

The sense of style can even extend to children, as Dolce & Gabbana’s new collection for boys and girls includes beautiful pieces in velvets, brocades and classic pinstriped fabrics distinctive of the brand’s tailoring.

Montano’s must-have suggestion for a woman is a black lace dress. “Every cocktail party you will be the best dressed,” he says. For a man, he recommends one of the tailored shirts.

Dolce & Gabbana pieces can blend seamlessly with other items in a wardrobe, so don’t hesitate to mix and match. The purses and leather accessories are the perfect examples for completing a look.

Matthews loves Dolce & Gabbana handbags for statement pieces. “Fun prints, great choice of sizes, and for the woman who wants to add just one piece to her existing wardrobe without going all out, this is the piece that she will be stopped on the street for.”

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have truly created a brand associated with glamour and versatility. Their creations—clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry—are easily recognized for their signature style and quality, becoming treasured possessions for everyone who owns them.