Dolce And Gabbana Celebrate The South With Their 2023 Alta Moda Show

Emma Hodgson   |   10-07-2023

The fashion elite headed to the southern Puglia region in Italy this weekend (nestled in the ‘heel’ part of Italy’s famous boot) for the 11th edition of Dolce and Gabbana’s Alta Moda show. In true D&G style, the event was so much more than just a runway show. The five-day festivities saw Italy’s famous designer duo take over the town of Alberobello. A place famed for ancient olive groves, classic vineyards and “trullo” stone roofed huts dating back to the 14th century. 

Le pezzo forte of the five-day spectacle however, was – of course – the unveiling of D&G’s 86 piece runway collection. Held on the final night of the festivities, the show started long before the first model stepped out onto the stage. 

As guests arrived, locals from Alberobello lined the cobbled streets, dressed in traditional clothes from the region, each taking part in a classic skill from Puglia, from making orecchiette pasta, working leather into bridles, weaving straw baskets and stringing rosary beads.

Although this could have been mistaken for a Disneyland-esque caricature of Italian culture, performative for the couture show; Stefano Gabbana was quick to point out that none of what was on display was fictional. In a press conference before the show he said “This is not a pantomime, we want to show what’s real.” This was then reiterated by a voice over, as the show began, announcing that the ancient crafts on display were still practised in the local region and “there is nothing artificial about it.” Meanwhile, on the pews an A-list guest list (including Helen Mirren, Venus Williams, Kim Kardashian, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kris Jenner ) were offered French bubbles and white lace Dolce & Gabbana fans, to cool down in the July Italian evening heat. Surrounding a runway which weaved through Alberobello’s outdoor town centre. 

Compared to previous Dolce & Gabbana couture shows, the 2023 collection itself was a somewhat more subdued affair. Gone were the silver, gold and crystals from last year’s show in Sicily. Instead, there was a muted colour palette, with black featuring heavily and delicate touches of tulle, chiffon, organza and lace throughout. Models were joined by townspeople and even livestock (a sheep and a goat made an appearance in the show). In another nod to the local environment, trulli inspired designs were weaved into pieces throughout the collection – a nod to the traditional technique of Puglia. The capsule was sensual, but paired down compared to many of the duo’s previous more overt collections. There were plenty of feminine touches (hoop skirts) interspersed with the more masculine silhouettes of tuxedos and smoking jackets. 

Overall, the collection was an exquisite homage to Italian tradition, and Dolce & Gabbana’s very palpable love for their country.