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Dolce & Gabbana’s AW18 collection: serious fashion with a sense of humour

King’s Angels collection displays a sensual masculinity that keeps D&G as relevant today as when the brand launched

A personal highlight is a sombre look featuring a black brocaded suit, a black mid-length shearling coat and topped off with a rakish wide-brimmed hat.

The Dolce & Gabbana man is never overdressed. Granted, he has an affinity for what others might consider OTT, highfalutin or even flamboyance. “Extra”, as the kids would say. #Dead. Oh, but also #HereForIt.

But that opulence is always tempered by a subtle simplicity that only serves to highlight the brand’s reworking of classics. It’s often the cut — an emphasis on sensual masculinity — that keeps D&G as relevant today as when the brand launched more than 30 years ago, supported by a groundedness in its Italian heritage.

D&G’s AW18 menswear collection is as true to D&G’s DNA as its first, sent down the runway in 1990. Then it was about elevating the workman’s peacock strut and softening the business side of the power suit; now it’s about peacocking the peacock.

Titled King’s Angels, with some of the models wearing actual crowns, the line is rooted in the D&G world of seeming contradictions — the sinner and the saint; the rigid and the fluid; the masculine and the feminine.

Making its womenswear debut in 1985, there were questions about how Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana would translate an exuberance and Sicilian attitude into something for the less-fair sex. Then, as now — with confidence.

A personal highlight is a sombre look featuring a black brocaded suit, a black mid-length shearling coat and topped off with a rakish wide-brimmed hat.

They open with gold-brocaded tailcoats, an overwrought exploration of civilian military regalia. Chubby cherubs frolic cheerfully up and down a black silk suit, on the chest of a hoodie, on a baby blue oversized satin T-shirt set against gold trousers. Red finds outlet in a bright, slim-cut two-piece with a crown motif — the royal undertones accentuated by a purple satin bow tie. Elsewhere a deep purple dinner jacket — in velvet, of course — is adorned with an elaborate lapel.

The coats are meant to stand out — Christian Combs (the splitting image of his father, Sean Combs or P. Diddy) opened the show with a military take on the penguin suit that has so much texture and detail it’s wisely paired with slim trousers. Paris Brosnan (yes, Pierce’s son) sports an intricate fuchsia number, while Jack Marsden (yes, James’ son) revisits the brand’s proclivity for sleepwear-as-outerwear with a super-comfy-looking bathrobe coat, also in deep purple and finished with a tux-style red lapel.

Meanwhile, Rafferty Law (you guessed it — Jude’s son) was sent down the runway in a pyjama two-piece suit with a luxe trenchcoat draped across his shoulders, the gold around his neck, wrist and fingers a dead giveaway that this isn’t an outfit entirely meant for bed.

In the way D&G has redefined sleepwear, the brand has also been concerned with streetwear-inspired high fashion long before it became a thing. But one of its hallmarks has been the rethinking of activewear for non-sporty environments. Dylan Jagger Lee (sprog of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee) strutted down the ramp in a letter jacket-inspired quilted coat — it ticks at least three trend boxes, but is unmistakeably D&G with that Christ figure hiding among a flower motif.

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Gabriel Day Lewis (Daniel’s offspring) sported a double-breasted jacket in green brocade over cream with royal blue accents, the subtle button detail a nod to the military theme.

Staple of sequin trousers here add some vibrant colour with rich red in a full trouser, glittery silver in mid-calve one and moss green or gold on wide shorts. A coat here and a jacket there feature wrap closing.

A full bright yellow hoodie tracksuit gets a pinstripe coat given an urban makeover with graffiti-style imagery.

Jennifer Lopez may have nearly broken the internet this summer with a pair of thigh-high denim boots by Versace, but D&G’s solution for winter features a coat with sleeves constructed of upcycled jeans waists and a lush lining of patchwork fur in one look, and a street-infused, drop-crotch patchwork number in another.

The white vest that was such a dominant force in that first collection, and which is such a ubiquitous feature in traditional Italian life pockmarked by black shawled women and white tanked men, here is reduced to only one outing — an easy-elegance look where its paired with dark blue crown brocade trousers and an open bathrobe coat. A gold “DG” buckle and crown lapel brooch complete the ensemble.

A personal highlight is a sombre look featuring a black brocaded suit, a black mid-length shearling coat and topped off with a rakish wide-brimmed hat — in black, of course.

Slogans abound. From “Royal Love” to “Love is Love”, hooks to the popular culture references the brand has made its own. Cinema continues to be an inspiration, with “Paradiso” a direct reference to that classic of Italian filmmaking by Giuseppe Tornatore.

And brocade — Baroque brocade everywhere in way that’s simultaneously a throwback and very contemporary.

The D&G AW18 collection is reflective of the D&G aesthetic. It features everything the brand loves and has become associated with: Sicily (where Domenico hails from), and a Mediterranean vibe; military influences — officer status and above only, of course, and oft married with the matador look that harks back to Spain’s rule of Sicily; metallics used in interesting and different ways; prints, using clothes as a canvas featuring anything from food to culture, here with a generous helping of cherubs and religious iconography everywhere from T-shirts to shoes, (which ties in with baroque sensibilities, another key theme in the style of modern classicism the brand has perfected, influenced by cathedral frescoes and mosaics); having real people strut as models, including geriatrics and millennial influencers, the latter here more prominent than the former, while Tinie Tempah returns to the D&G ramp; lace, often paired with layering but here reimagined in brocade; wrap jackets and coats, creating sleepwear you can wear beyond the corner store; and loafers — loafers everywhere.

This is serious fashion, but it never takes itself too seriously. And that is everything you need to know about the brand.

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