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Dolce & Gabbana Start in Denver, End at Dinner

Godfrey Deeny
June 25th, 2009 @ 00:56 AM - Milan

If anything captured the new, cleaned up moment in Milan these past few days it was the finale of the D&G menswear show on Wednesday, June 25, where a half dozen “cowboys” sauntered down the catwalk with jeans, tuxedos and bow ties.

Word up to those interested in grooming – the design duo’s ranch-hands had neatly coiffed hair, like most other Milan shows, which was striking in a city where hirsute, hard-partying models were all the rage even just two years ago.

It’s the morning after in Italian fashion.

No wonder the key fabric in this Tuesday show was utilitarian denim, even if in the hands of designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana it comes shredded, studded, encrusted with crystals – far more rock and roll than rustler.

After a day’s cattle drive, the duo’s ranch-hands enjoy formal dinners, and not chow in the bunkhouse. And if they make it to the local saloon they do so in dip dyed leather jackets – though in supple Italian skins, not Texan rawhide – and aviator shades. Or turn heads in jean jackets with hundreds of studs in an exploding fireworks pattern.

Staged on a desert sand catwalk and backed up by a brilliant remix of Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses' “Country Roads,” this was a downtown cowboy couture moment.

Back on Saturday, the designers had presented a far more pampered vision, where at least a dozen of the models in their show carried purses. Once again, they showed lots of torn jeans, but paired with hosiery – some of that in pinstripe – and Mediterranean-style swimwear.

But the key item in their signature collection was the smoking jacket – done in intreccio ribbons, chinoiserie bugle beading or jade star at night designs.

Ultimately both shows were crammed with attractive merchandise, but for a fashion house that has smartly kept two distinct visions between their signature and diffusion lines, these collections were, ultimately, far too similar.

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