It's been a good week for Italian fashion. The biggest events of couture week frayed from the standard Paris shows and instead went to celebrate history and heritage in Italy. Valentino's Mirabilia Romae show/presentation and Dolce and Gabbana's Alta Moda Midsummer Night's Dream extravaganza were both highlights of couture week, and I don't say that lightly because couture week is basically, by the nature of couture, made up of highlights. Both designers represent two very different sides of Italy: Valentino, the elegant, and Dolce, the extravagant, but those are just two of multi-faceted Italy. What about the culture or allure of Italy compels its designers to so highly embrace and return to their roots? Or should I be asking what about the designers compels them to revisit and glorify their heritage? Giambattista Valli and Elsa Schiaparelli are both Italian, but are well rooted in Paris fashion. I suppose it's just a matter of aesthetic and character. Some fashion houses choose to fiercely represent their country, and some are only technically associated with their homeland. But Italy is a key component of both Valentino and Dolce and Gabbana; they chose to represent different sides of Italy, enriching their brands, their shared country, and the fashion world so intently obsessed with "Parisian style" and that special je ne sais quoi. I wouldn't be surprised or sorry if the fashion-focus shifted to Italy, a land conveyed with quality, style, and a certain tradition, or in other words, just what fashion is missing.
Top: Italy interpreted through Valentino; Bottom: Italy through Dolce & Gabbana
Both photos via Style.com.