Dealing A Dolce Deck of Cards

Firstly, get ready to read no end of puns and word riffs as per the above. The Dolce & Gabbana invite – collectible to awaiting fans outside, there to catch a glimpse of the millennial pin-ups the duo have so managed to commandeer as ambassadors – was an oversized playing card, a beautiful incarnation Dolce-style.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

The set had revolving cards at its end – actually surprisingly low-key for the brand who has been cornering the market in Insta fodder these past few seasons. So, for a change, it was a chance to take in the clothes. We know they follow a similar pathway each season with just an overlay of inspiration but it's wise to point out, like Gucci is experiencing now, if it works, it works, don't mess with it. A good sassy dress also works in a wardrobe. Women like to feel sexy. And of late clothes on the catwalks have just not done that. We're tired of sloppy sleeves and twisted shirts and hybrids that can't make up their mind what item they're meant to be. We want to see clothes we can wear. Dolce, one can't dispute, does deliver on that. Even though, yes, today did go a little Alice in Wonderland for bulbous puffball gowns that held themselves into shape because they were "constructed" from embellished playing cards and took their cue from the kind of outfit the Queen of Hearts herself would wear. It was fantasy and fairytale. It was fun. And among fashion week so far, that has been lacking – or certainly not executed in quite such a way as this.

Ribbons and flowers and feathers and a rainbow of colour and print and pattern and billowy dresses and black corsets and sequin catsuits and laced-up little black dresses; there was a peapod ball gown and sunglasses whose eyes were transformed with blooms. The only thing missing was perhaps Alice herself or the Cheshire Cat on the runway.

Sunny, so very sunny, in outlook, it was the ultimate vitamin D top-up; yet also felt somewhat more relaxed and, dare we say it, pared back for the Dolce boys – their seasonal end-of-show procession an all-black lingerie-meets-sports affair. Of course that didn't stop the expectant phones vying for airspace to capture the moment.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

But it wasn't just at Dolce & Gabbana where we were transported into fantasy. Picking up upon and expanding on Prada's cartoon escapades earlier in the week, it was at Marni where they came to life in silhouette and substantial caricature shape. This was a decided departure from the Marni we know.

Francesco Risso, now there for almost a year and this his second collection, went big and bold with bustier corsets over supersized and exaggerated dresses that were a pastiche of themselves. It was a patchwork of wallpaper chintz prints and bright brocades; it was regal with a disheveled twist; a bit country house eccentric via Milan. It was bejewelled and there was the fuzzy stuff – a Cruella de Vil-looking coat among them had she managed to get her hands on those puppies. It was a surprise and a departure for Marni, let loose from the constraints of its signature subversion. It will divide: you'll either love it or hate it.