In all honesty, there was no Sicily in this. It was Spain, on steroids...

In recent seasons Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have given us Byzantine Sicily, Mythological Sicily and Fairytale Sicily. The spin of their spring/summer 2015 collection? The influence of Spain on - guess where? - between 1516 and 1713. Call it Tenuous Sicily, perhaps?

It sounds more like the subject of an essay than the creative muse behind a fashion collection, and frequently Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s shows have felt like excessive exercise-book odes to their southern Italian roots. Gabbana wasn’t even born there, hence the fact it sometimes strikes a bum note.

What Dolce and Gabbana came close to realising with their latest offering, however, is that the Sicilian element comes from them, their eyes and their interpretation of whatever theme they set their mind too - it doesn’t have to be anchored to the stumpy island forever being kicked by long-legged Italy. That marked a breakthrough, the sort that makes your heart soar. Because, in all honesty, there was no Sicily in this. It was Spain, on steroids - or maybe via a Hollywood studio lot, like Marlene Dietrich slinking around a maquiladora in carnations and kiss curls playing hardcore “Spaneesh”. Cue dripping fringe, lace, matador embroideries and ex voto studding dresses, belts, skirts and jackets, gilded, crystal-crusted heels clicking in castanet time to the pasodoble soundtrack.


Heavy-handed? You bet, and gloriously so. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana never give any of their themes short-shrift. Half-a-dozen models even toted dolls clad in barbie-sized replicas of their outfits. Why? Perhaps in reflection of those Spanish tourist trickiest, the mini-flamenco dancers picked up in touristy tack-shacks on the outskirts of Majorca package holiday resorts.

There was, it’s fair to say, a lot going on - not least a heavy dollop of the baroque ornament popularised in the eighties by Christian Lacroix. That’s understandable: Lacroix’s couture was always an ode to his Camargue homeland, infused with Spanish influence, so there was bound to be a crossover. Rather than filching the style, there was simply a duality of spirit between them. Dolce and Gabbana were speaking the same aesthetic language - a language of excess, florid and elaborate. And joyful, too. Lacroix was always an exponent of unabashed and unashamed exuberance through dress. Dolce and Gabbana have done that before, too: here, they captured that magic again.

When you’re running embroidered roses up the front of stockings, you’re entirely aware you’re straying into the molto-is-molto territory of razzle-dazzle dressing. Nevertheless, it all worked. It was balanced. The heaviness was countered by strict, elongated skirt-suits with a Balenciaga rigour, or filmy black lingerie, bombshell throw-backs to D&G’s halcyon early nineties years that still looked enticing. Linda Evangelista sat the audience, watching a near-facsimile of a look - trussed-up girdle-skirt, pointed bra and stockings - she sported in their winter 1991 “Pin-Up” collection strut past.

They say a change is as good as a rest. And while you wish Dolce and Gabbana could give the Sicilian stuff a rest - just for one season, just one - the palpable change gave the collection a friskiness that has been sorely lacking. It had wit, energy, and, stamping through its core, really great clothes.