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Sunday 15 January 2012

Dolce & Gabbana Menswear: Fall 2012.

I think this is the first menswear post I've made on Hello, Tailor, so let me begin with this obvious yet necessary disclaimer: menswear is different from womenswear. Due to the way our society views men "dressing up", menswear tends to be a lot less daring than womenswear. I guarantee that when Fall Fashion Week comes along, there will be multiple looks that will make you go, "What the hell is that?" and then think, "Well, I suppose Lady Gaga/Tilda Swinton/Beyonce will be wearing it by next month." During Menswear Fashion Week there will be some bizarre and wonderful outfits on the runway, make no mistake, but I highly doubt that you'll be seeing many of them on men in the public eye. There will always be people willing to spend a three-figure sum on designer t-shirts, but there's less pressure for menswear designers to explore much further than that. Happily, there will also be an awful lot of well-tailored suits, so you can expect to see a lot of suit pictures in the upcoming weeks.
photos from
Dolce & Gabbana is only the second show I've looked at this Menswear Fashion Week, but I'm already sure that it's still going to be one of my favourites come the end of the season. D&G have expertly trod the line between traditional suits and eye-catching runway fashion, ending up with something that mixes unexpected fabric choices, three-piece formal suits (always a winner), and old-fashioned luxury without often straying into the territory of over-the-top opulence.

My love of richly-embroidered fabrics meant that I was biased towards this collection almost immediately. The show itself was steeped in heavy-handed operatic melodrama, with the models walking to Pavarotti along a darkened runway with red and gold antique furniture in the background (footage here). A great deal of typical D&G trad menswear followed (not pictured here because there were 76 looks in this show and I'm not wasting space on the ~20 near-identical black tuxedos included therein), occasionally modified with Italian opera capes, or Tistera.
After I saw BBC Sherlock's "A Scandal In Belgravia" I reread the original Holmes short story "A Scandal In Bohemia", meaning that the description of the King of Bohemia was fresh in my mind when I saw this collection today. "His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as bad taste." "...impression of barbaric opulence..." and so forth. The heavy coats and capes over dark three-piece harkened back to late 19th/early 20th century formalwear, although definitely more European than British.
Trousers aren't a typical place to find brocade, and although I think the jacket pictured below went a little too far on the embroidery and decoration stakes, I love the steady creep of curlicues up this model's legs, like the growth of some type of coral or ice-crystal.
The heavy fabrics were a particular delight for me, since they'd been purposely weathered to avoid being too bright, giving the appearance of an antique. Although I wouldn't classify this show as remotely steampunk, I'm sure it'll find many fans in the steampunk community. When it comes to dressing up, you often have to go back to the early 20th century and beyond for menswear inspiration, since so many trends in the latter half of the 20th century are not easily mined for wearable menswear looks (cf. DISCO). Unlike womenswear designers, who dig up the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s ad infinitum.
I particularly liked this next look (and the sweater + embroidered cape pictured earlier) since it neatly combines different eras without seeming jarringly retro. Ignoring the poorly-tailored trousers for a moment, the shape of the sweater is very trendy and new while the embroidery could easily come from some minor Russian royal's home furnishings circa 1850. And then the gold-studded shoes are perfectly modern as well. (I've been racking my brain to remember where this type of stiff, wide, half-length sleeves come from -- I thought somewhere in the Himalayas but Google has not been forthcoming in this regard.)

There were several pajama outfits in the collection, complete with slippers. Or at least, I hope they were intended to be pajamas because the collar certainly suggests that, never mind that they were all worn with a jacket over the top. The fabric choices, once again, were excellent.

Among the more directly modern-looking outfits was this knitted ensemble, which included those irritatingly unflattering drop-crotch trousers that are so fashionable right now. One thing I will say in favour of this pair is that they look admirably warm. If you've read any of my Fall or Pre-Fall womenswear reviews you'll know that I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to outfits that are supposed to be worn in London, Paris, or NYC in November, yet include bare legs and a tiny jacket made from lace. I suspect that this is down to the high-end fashion world's dismally archaic view of what men and women "should" look like -- ie, it's a rare day that you see a menswear collection that highlights the delicate and fragile aspects of its wearer's appearance, or a womenswear collection that tries to make the models look strong and bulky.

The shoes in this show were a particular treat for me. They went from trendy to formal to artfully distressed, plus many of them would go with a wide variety of outfits. The neverending queues of tuxedos we see on the red carpet would be significantly more interesting if their wearers threw in some gold-embroidered shoes now and then. And I loved the urban neo-antique appearance of sock/show combos such as this:

I would wear this like a shot.


  1. This screams EAMES! Now I need a fic where E casually wears those opulent pyjamas (with slippers) at home then Arthur comes knocking on his door for some urgency then sees E in these jammies and is shocked/appalled and falls in love. FIN.

  2. That first long coat is art and I want it now. Why does mensware always appeal to me more than womensware? I guess I prefer structured, tailored clothes better, and in mensware that's often a given. Although those saggy pants are no one's friend. I think I see why they're there, something soft and billowy to contrast with the stiffer brocade/heavy fabrics, but still not feeling it.

  3. i think (HOPE) the pajama things are intentionally pajamas. ;) as for the saggy trousers.... i think it's just purposefully bad tailoring, of which there has been far too much over the past couple of years.

  4. LOLL, go for it. ;)

  5. ARGH. Why don't women's coats ever look this awesome?

  6. idk about that, i think they do fairly regularly! :)

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  10. Crazy awesome. There is a little bit of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach (from Girl Genius) in the first coat. Which I want. Except with silver or shiny grey embroidery to tone it down a little. Which isn't appropriate for formal anything but looks OK for subcultural clothing without being revolutionary or out there.

    I have to say I dislike all of the shoes. Some of these would look better with boots.

    The guy with the curliecues on his pants: Jacket is a bit much. Would have ommitted the stripey things going all the way around the arms.

    The short sleeved sweater-thing looks inconsistent in drama level.

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