Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
There’s always a birthday to celebrate in Fashion Land. Two years ago it was the big 4-0 for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, with an extravaganza on the High Line and a show/dinner on Central Park lawn, respectively. This fall marks the 25th year of Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger as well as the 40th year for Roberto Cavalli. And there’s sure to be plenty of events fêting these designers come Fashion Month.
Dolce & Gabbana also celebrated a birthday in 2010–the 20th year of its menswear line.
I’ll always remember that day in January 1990, in the old showroom at Via Santa Cecilia, that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana presented their first men’s collection, just five years after they had launched their womenswear label. I had started to work for Dolce & Gabbana in New York a year and a half earlier. In those days, I was the only employee. It was my first job in the fashion industry.
There in the small rectangular showroom, on a runway that curved around three huge support pillars were, models wearing layers of slouchy coats with jackets and tight flat front pants tucked into leather boots. There were double layered cable knits cardigans, cable sweaters tucked into wool stretch pants, brass square buckle leather belts and knit hats. There was a crop wool jacket worn with a wool t-shirt, large wool knit scarf, and slim pants.
For the finale, the designers stripped the models into their cotton tanks–an Italian version of the U ribbed tank top now known as the DG tank–slim wools pants, large leather belts and high leather boots. The model Marpessa was in a black corset dress and a gold crown.
This emotional show, with a style so personal, ended an era dominated by power dressing. In April 1990, we showed the men’s and women’s fall collections at the Puck building in New York, establishing the roots for today’s global brand.
Sicilian, Mediterranean and la Dolce Vita were the words frequently used to describe the duo’s men’s collections. These words–the brand’s DNA–resonate today ever more.
Now, Dolce & Gabbana are returning to their roots. Unlike the big party and Donna Summer concert in Milano for its 20 years of womenswear in 2005, Dolce & Gabbana is celebrating its men’s anniversary differently.
The designers chose to host a large exhibition during the men’s shows this past June at Palazzo Marino, Milan’s City Hall. The images from this exhibition are the basis of three books to be published by Mondarori Electa throughout this fall. 20 Years of Dolce & Gabbana for Men–designed by Fabien Baron–as well as Icons 1990-2010 and Fashion Shows 1990-2010–both designed by Lucca Stoppini. Tim Blanks, Peter Howarth, and Courtney Colavita wrote the introductions.
20 Years, already published, focuses on images from advertising campaigns, celebrity editorials, red carpets appearances, and movies stills that inspired many collections. It also includes quotes from the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Victoria Beckham. Icons is about the sartorial tradition–clothes that are the DNA of the brand. Fashion Shows is a pictorial narrative of each show. with backstage and preparation photos. A perfect triplet for a large coffee table.
Click through for images from Long’s personal copy of the first Dolce & Gabbana menswear look book, as well as images from 20 Years of Dolce & Gabbana for Men.