The runway was once a sacred place. Once, in a time unknown to me and most others of fashion today, the runway was hushed, models slowly made their way through the seats of editors, critics, and buyers, in addition to a small group of photographers. This was before everyone in the audience became a photographer, capturing and sharing every detail, of every second, of every show before the even official photos made it out. Everyone today is a photographer, and, just recently, that includes the models.
In a backstage interview for Vogue, Steffano Gabbana explained the technology aspect of the show as a "need to look at the new generation." But selfies on the runway isn't the "new generation." No rookie, no new designer would dare do such a thing. This isn't a sign of modernity, it's a call for attention and a desperate attempt to stay current with a time that's already left them. Dolce & Gabbana has become the definition of Italy in fashion; their goal should be to keep that Italia Is Love theme central and focus on bringing the boot shaped country into the clothes. That's probably what irked me most about the whole shebang: all the buzz was solely focused on the selfies down the runway and not on the clothes, where it should be. An Instagram blow-up of model selfies does not make up for a lack of new clothes.
While it's true that no one could ever question Dolce & Gabbana's love and loyalty towards Italy, as it is, quite literally, spelled out in each one of their collections, the actual images of Italy evoke little thought other than touristy photos that belong on Pinterest travel boards, not on "high fashion" dresses. The clothes may be beautiful, but the method used to get there is nothing short of lazy. A more tasteful way of bringing Italy to clothes would been by using fabric and cut, similar to Valentino's Mirabilia Romae couture collection this past season, which evoked a perfect image of Rome to all who viewed, with little literal imagery. Now, I understand this is not couture, but surely some aspects of quality could be present? Is that too much to ask for? I'm exaggerating here; the clothes weren't completely lacking in quality, it was only taste that seemed to be missing. The ornamentation that I love Dolce & Gabbana for was most certainly present, but, on the other hand, it's been present for the past eight seasons or so, and therefore didn't exactly make for intricate surprise.
When a tasteless publicity stunt such as this usually happens, I normally just dismiss it as vulgar deterioration of fashion, but, in this case, I'm getting so worked up because I happen to like Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce was one of the first "high fashion" brands I recognized and reviewed, and it holds a special place in my (fashion) heart. This show represents a greater deterioration of both fashion houses and fashion itself. Brands should try to be modern, but they shouldn't throw in faux-modernities in an effort to avert the attention from the clothes.
Photos via Vogue Runway.