Goodbye to D&G brand

By Harriet Walker

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana made the surprise announcement yesterday that they would be closing their D&G line - just as an audience in Milan applauded the finale of the label's latest - and now last - show.

Since its founding in 1994, nine years after the house was established, D&G has come to represent the "bling factor" so often ascribed to the Italian aesthetic and has an enormous following as well as great commercial power.

Its lettered insignia has, over the past 17 years, become one of the market's most conspicuously aspirational logos.

The designers said in a statement, published online by Women's Wear Daily, that D&G would now be incorporated into the house's mainline range, Dolce & Gabbana.

The reasons remained unclear, the duo saying only that it would give "even more strength and energy to our collections".

Its swan song was characteristically colourful: at yesterday's collection everything from cocktail-hour mini-dresses to floor-sweeping gowns and platform sandals was fashioned from vibrant and eclectic foulard scarves.

Fruit prints, paisley, florals, psychedelia and Sevres-style engravings merged on disco mini-dresses, which were constructed by swathing and ruching the silk squares together to create something of a Riviera feel.

The foulard is a classically chic accessory, whether knotted around the neck la Jackie Kennedy, or tied under the chin like Grace Kelly and the Queen (whose headscarves and tweeds inspired a D&G collection in 2008).

But the duo also played on the more trashy Eighties connotations of scarf prints, which were something of a signature during the decade at labels such as Versace and Pucci.

Sophisticated prints were undercut with daring peekaboo detailing, while vibrant, clashing colours came on more grown-up styles. There were silk blouses, some finished with denim pocket detailing and sleeves, others simply left fluid and elegant in bright citrus hues, hot pink and deep burnished bronze.

Dolce & Gabbana has not released any details of what the designers' new projects will be, but the house's mainline range is due to be shown to press and buyers this Sunday as part of the ongoing international collections.

"This is our new reality and we are extremely happy about it," the statement concluded, but there are plenty of D&G fans who may not be and the Milan catwalks will be quieter for it.

Later in Milan, the Prada show featured cartoon graphic car prints and squealing tyre-marks on loose fitting coats, genteel satin bomber jackets and oxblood leather pencil skirts.

While pleats, pastels, twinsets and corvette imagery may summon Fifties Americana for some, Miuccia Prada was adamant that she was avoiding those references.

"We have a thing in Italy about women and cars," she said of the girlish-meets-gearbox look of the collection.

"Sweetness is a taboo in fashion and I wanted to combine sweetness, which is possibly the greatest feminine quality, with cars."

This she did by fusing crocheted flowers onto almost space-age minimal separates in wool and duchesse satin, the clean lines of which were offset by exhaust fume prints and shoes with flames licking at their high heels.

"The shoes?" Mrs Prada laughed. "They were a joke."

Nevertheless, It was a show that proved once again the Prada is still very much in the driving seat of modern fashion.

- INDEPENDENT

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