Editor’s Note: This year marks the tenth anniversary of Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda, which will be celebrated with a show in Sicily. Ahead of that event, we’re revisiting some of the label’s 1990s shows. The spring 1997 collection was presented in October 1996 in Milan.
Speaking to The Independent in 1996, Domenico Dolce set out his idea of “crisscross” dressing, explaining it as a merging of the feminine and the masculine. For spring 1997 these categories seemed to coexist rather than dissolve, but there were other interesting dichotomies at work in this memorable, and Madonna-approved, collection.
When writing about it, Vogue focused on Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s mix of old and new, explaining that “the mix masters demonstrate their flair for vintage hodgepodge, pairing a long chiffon leopard-print peignoir with a blue embroidered sarong.” The designers also played with material contrasts, adding fur collars to airy toppers and using sturdy yarns for see-through crochet pieces.
The show ended with a parade of sheer slip dresses worn over leopard print panties, which sounds sizzling, but overall the show did not produce a roar, but a gentle and pleasing purr. There was an unexpected coziness to the collection in which the idea of bedroom dressing took on a double meaning. Pinstripes aside, the chintz prints, crochets, and chinoiserie embroideries could have all been lifted from grandmother’s house.
Though Gabbana described the coats as something “the Queen Mother might wear,” the fit was more sensual, and the use of knits, especially, added a rustic, Mediterranean touch. For all the exterior signaling of sex via lingerie touches and transparencies, this outing seemed to focused on the world of interiors. As Gabbana told The Independent several months after the show, “Clothes and furniture are to me inseparable.”