ARTICLE ROBERTO REYES
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY DOLCE & GABBANA
DOLCE & GABBANA ARE MASTERS OF USING THE RUNWAY TO PORTRAY THE ITALIAN MAN, AND THIS SPRING THEY TOOK A TURN FOR THE LITERAL
Picture this: Sicily, Spring 2013. Masculine shapes, instantly iconic prints, textures you can feel just by looking at them. Now add the unmistakable air of Mediterranean romance, exuded by Dolce & Gabbana’s ingenious cast of characters. The men and boys sent down the catwalk at the designers’ Spring 2013 show confidently captured the true spirit of the clothes with authoritative command. These models were the real deal: seventy-four of them, hailing from various backgrounds and trades and ranging in age from 11 to 40. And they authentically represented both the pronounced personality and the pleasing physicality of the Sicilian man.
“The idea came about in Taormina when we were shooting the [Fall] campaign, where we used local people as extras, real men and women who were able to stand out as true protagonists in the pictures,” Domenico Dolce explains. “The collections were very baroque and precious, with many embroideries. However, these outfits when worn by them seemed absolutely normal.” Stefano Gabbana adds, “We had the idea of staging a fashion show using real men of different ages and with different features. The casting was a great experience, we traveled to different places in Sicily where we met men of different ages.”
Each individual brought a singular swagger to his respective look, reinvigorating the marriage of man and clothing while inducing a curiosity about his character. A true gathering of real-life beauty rarely seen in the typical assembly of male models, the show avoided homogeneity and stereotype by allowing personality to play a key factor. “There are many men and they are all different,” says Stefano. “We want to reach them and we address them. We held this casting looking at the personalities, not at their physical aspect.” When asked to define the Sicilian man, Domenico describes him as “having a great personality and lots of character.” “But,” Stefano interjects, “they are also very ironic. They like to challenge themselves. Like the Dolce & Gabbana man.”
Seeking to attract and keep an expansive audience in the global marketplace, many designers compromise their visions at inception. But how much allegiance should a major fashion brand pay to its country of origin? Domenico answers: “You never have to lose contact with your roots. Without roots you have no identity, no personality. You run the risk of homology. We do think that at some point globalization was great, but we are now a bit fed up with finding the same things everywhere. There is a need for more authenticity.” Spoken like a true Sicilian.