The Renaissance of Craftsmanship
Dolce&Gabbana’s tribute to Florence told by Domenico dolce and Stefano Gabbana
For three days, Dolce&Gabbana presented Florence with a passionate tribute to the city’s historic identity and craftsmanship tradition. Sumptuous events which brought Florence’s beauty and socialite scene back in the spotlight. But what made this project - supported by Pitti Immagine, Comune di Firenze and Fondazione CRFirenze - truly special is the deep bond that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana formed with 38 Florentine artisans who worked with them on the creation of their Alta Gioielleria, Alta Sartoria and Alta Moda collections staged in Florence. During the events and fashion shows- held at Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, at Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento and at the Bardini Villa and Gardens- hearing their names called out, one by one, again and again, was enough to make us realize the work done by Domenico and Stefano in their ateliers between May and June.
How did this collaboration come to be?
Stefano Gabbana: We decided to spend a few days in Florence to explore all the forms of craftsmanship worth promoting and keeping alive. Italy is a country very rich in regional excellence and we’ve always been attracted to Florence’s culture and history, in addition to its endless number of artisan workshops.
Domenico Dolce: We wished to meet the artisans in person, take in the atmosphere of their workshops. We met with them, one by one, and selected the works that best described the Italian know how. And what’s more, we got them involved in the creative process. Some created the outfits’ details, some worked on the gilt leaves, others took care of the skins or collaborated with us on the locations’ set-up by using pieces of furniture from their workshops. We wanted everyone to breathe Italian craftsmanship in all its aspects.
You did not confine yourself to craftsmanship in fashion, but you extended your attention to other fields as well. How did this ‘cross-contamination’ impact on your work?
DD&SG: We’ve always supported and enjoyed the cross-contamination of arts, from painting to fashion, from design to architecture. For this occasion, we chose artisans who work leather and fabrics, but also cabinet-makers, masters of the art of scagliola, bookbinders, feather makers, silversmiths. All age-old, traditional Italian crafts, which allow us to hand down our country’s cultural and manufacturing heritage: veritable forms of art which we strive to make known and pass down to the future generations.
You enjoy introducing capsule collections, special editions and even themed collections inspired by local landscapes. What intrigues you the most about Italy’s local diversity?
DD: In Italy, we live immersed in pure beauty. We Italians do not realize it, but our food, as well as our landscapes, art and culture, constantly give us beauty. Foreigners often remind us that, in Italy, we are able to admire examples of stunning architecture, be it Baroque or Renaissance, by taking a simple walk down the street.
How did you develop a passion for craftsmanship?
SG: We believe that without a past and deep roots there is no future. Our style is a mix of multiple elements, the harmony of opposites: sumptuous outfits and the sheath dress, black and the use of color, the sacred and the profane, eccentric patterns and simplicity, lace. We are all this. The attention to details, shapes and proportions are all aspects of our style and chapters of a story to be continued.
DD: The Dolce&Gabbana style is a mix of different elements that will never change. Contrasting elements: femininity and masculinity, sensuousness and austerity, precious and simple fabrics. It is a combination of many different things but, first of all, Italian tradition combined with our creativity and our ideas.
The heart of your work is a model of high craftsmanship and industry that combines tradition and innovation, how does it work?
DD&SG: The secret lies in knowing how to maintain a constant balance between innovation and tradition, and our collections are proof of this. We have tried to tell our world, our DNA, the values that have always represented us with an eye to the future. We are proud of our roots, but we are aware of the reality in which we live.
How do you see the value of craftsmanship in the future of the post-Covid19 fashion world?
DD: Craftsmanship is an age-old value that we wish to hand down to the new generations to prevent it from being lost. In order for an outfit to be remembered and to mean something, it has to convey a feeling, a memory, a way of life. And in order to create such outfits, you have to pour your heart into them and make sure they arouse emotions in people.
SG: Our collections will never cease to tells stories of love, of genuine beauty and of the “Made in Italy”. Beautiful things must be preserved and now we need to get back on track more than ever before: we will do so by relying on Italy and on its excellence as usual.
Please take us on Domenico Dolce’s and Stefano Gabbana’s tour of Florence through their favorite spots.
SG: We fell in love with the grandeur of Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala dei Cinquecento, where we staged our Alta Sartoria fashion show; Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, where we showcased our Alta Gioielleria collection, and Villa Bardini with its gardens and magnificent staircase where our Alta Moda Collection was introduced. Not to mention the Antinori Winery in Bargino, with its unique landscape and view which totally won us over.