Nothing could be more symbolic on the day of Pope Benedict XVI’s last Sunday blessing from his papal window than Cardinal Red blood spilling onto the Dolce and Gabbana runway. The blood was a metaphor for the dresses in that iconic red hue as the models marched out for the show’s finale. Although this Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection was inspired by the Cathedral of Monreale, one could not help but simultaneously think of the Pope’s last few days as Saint Peter’s successor.
The collection was once again an ode to Italy, Sicilia to be precise, Stefano and Domenico’s source of inspiration. This Italian region has proven to be the duo’s gold mine for ideas, and in the past they have taken everything from the peasantry to the kitsch and translated them into fashion success. For their Fall/Winter outing, they looked to the Cathedral of Monreale and literally extracted the mosaics from the walls transferring them onto everything from bags to tunics. In fact, the opening set of looks were romanticized versions of the cathedral’s relics; from the ecclesiastical iconography and mosaics on dresses to the Byzantine Cross in the form of earrings and pendants. The result: a fusion of wealth and Christian imagery.
Dolce and Gabbana also offered several subdued options in comparison to the gilded frocks that made an impression on the runway. A section of looks devoted to the color grey was transcribed by tweed and wool offering blouses, coats, and separates to those with quieter tastes. Following the grey period were the reappearances of the Sicilian black widows and the virgins in white that showcased the duo’s skilled lace handiwork.
In spite of all the beautifully crafted clothing that emerged from this collection, nothing was more powerful than the attire made in Cardinal Red. I find it interesting that the last model came out in a white icon shift adorned in a Byzantine crown and jewels only to be followed by a Holy See, or rather Sea, of red dresses as the finale. Dolce and Gabbana were quite literal in their Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection; the models in that religious red marched out of the show as if they were going into conclave. We know how the story ends: only one of them will return wearing white.