Dolce & Gabbana Rips Off...Their Own Clothes

“What can be called ‘new’ in clothing?” Yves Saint Laurent asked an Elle reporter in 1971, after the release of what critics deemed a tasteless retrospective. “From peplum to stockings, everything has been done and redone a hundred times. Hippie dress was borrowed from the East; shorts are borrowed from stadiums. And yet these are still new contributions to .”

And prescient the designer was, but on more than his own legacy. Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, who are the founders and creative heads of Italian house Dolce & Gabbana, have paid more than tribute to their archives; they regurgitated parts of it seemingly without distinction in their most recent runway show.

Three of the dresses presented during the Feb. 26 Milan Fashion Week event were already shown on the D&G runway — 12 years ago. On the left, models wear looks from D&G’s Fall/Winter 2005 ready-to-wear collection; on the right, the Fall/Winter 2017 show.

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Dolce & Gabbana did not confirm whether the dresses were from the D&G archives or if they’re newly made, but some of the detailing (as well as the styling) appears slightly different. Julie Zerbo, founder of The Fashion Law, told Yahoo Style, “I think it’s interesting while we quite often see designers mining the archives, so to speak, it’s rare to see such replication. That’s really what strikes me here,” Zerbo said. “The fabrics appear to be updated, some seem to be more sheer, styling of last two different with the bra. But the silhouettes are super similar.”

Zerbo said it’s completely within its purview for D&G to dig into their archives, since fashion houses retain the legal rights to their designs no matter who’s at the helm. That said, designers typically reinvigorate a design with an element of modernity. “Almost everything we see in fashion has been done before in some way or other,” Zerbo said. “It’s reinterpreting elements we’ve already seen or making original in one way. But this is an extreme example.”

As for Saint Laurent, the very collection for which he gave that 1971 interview yielded pieces like a now-iconic green fox fur coat, one that has been remade again and again by the house’s creative directors. In 2002, just after Saint Laurent’s retirement, Tom Ford recast the green coat, diminishing the emerald hue’s saturation, on an icon of equal caliber, Naomi Campbell. The coat appeared again in 2015, this time at the mercy of creative director Hedi Slimane, who cropped the coat even shorter.

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