When the Virgin Mary appeared to William II in a dream and asked him to build a church, the King of Sicily spared neither expense nor sinew in meeting her request. The cathedral he raised at Monreale, a small hillside town outside Palermo, is a wonder of the world.
“He had a vision, a vision of beauty,” explained Domenico Dolce last night. “He employed the greatest architects and artists from across the world.”
To understand the collection, Dolce & Gabbana’s clients needed first to understand the cathedral. All were invited to meander through Monreale’s monumental jewel and contemplate the 6,500 square metres of mosaics that were pieced together with 2,200 kilograms of pure gold.
Among the most extraordinary pieces were sweatshirts and bombers made in painted patchworks of treated crocodile skin that recreated details from Monreale’s mosaics. There were also less gilded, in design if not materials, plain burgundy, black, and white crocodile pieces and sweatshirts of shaved mink. To acknowledge the multicultural multiplicity of Monreale’s magnificence there were jewel hemmed djellabas, slippers, phakeolises, and a fez. There were silk shirts, shorts, and pants printed with romanticized mid-century-style tourist poster illustrations of the cathedral’s piously austere exterior.
There were scores of examples in brocade, jacquard, and fantastic silk patchwork that all recreated decorative elements from King William’s duomo. A dressing gown and bomber jacket were cast in dimpled gold-stitched silk pressed to cast the same golden pattern as the cathedral’s soaring ceiling.
This collection is about history, but Stefano and I believe that this is what you need in fashion now, too: a vision of beauty.”