‘A dream dreamt in Sicily’…it can only be D&G. Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce invited me to celebrate the launch of their new venture, “Alta Moda”, in stunning Taormina on July 8th and 9th, and as part of the Green Carpet Challenge, they created two incredible eco dresses for me. An Italian fairytale, from start to finish.
I’m staying in the Taormina bay, just by Mount Etna I’ve found a book in my room entitled ‘Travelling with L’Alta Moda’. It tells the story of Taormina, Sicily and the inspirations for D&G’s new venture. Inside it is a personal note from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, inviting me and the other guests to the premiere of ‘Norma’, the beautiful Puccini opera in the old Greek theatre, and to the firework display afterwards on the terrace of the hotel. There’s also another note on the uniqueness of each gown by Alta Moda. It’s hand-written and very special – just like this whole experience.
My first visit is to the D&G sartorial laboratory, where all my eco dresses are stored. The Timeo Hotel is peaceful and quiet, and the beautiful surroundings allow the ‘sarte’ – seamstresses – to carry on their hard work on the gowns. D&G have created two stunning dresses, one for day and one for night; a very simple and chic white organic cotton dress for the evening do, and a black day dress made with an 100% organic embroidered silk layer, and a cream lining made with Newlife fabric. I’m teaming them both with my mother’s silver loafers, which have been in my family cupboard for 53 years – talk about long lasting!
The Alta Moda show takes place at the San Domenico hotel. It’s an ex-convent, and it really is a magical place. We get a glimpse of the first models we encounter at the entrance; the gowns are spectacular and so dramatic. They’re exquisite examples of why fine tailoring and craftsmanship still matter in the fashion industry. Fast fashion is the complete antithesis to the works of art D&G have created here, and they really encompass the slow approach to fashion that we try to promote here at Eco-Age.
The rest of the show doesn’t disappoint, as the models come out wearing the most beautiful, romantic and feminine clothes. Domenico and Stefano make an appearance after the show, but the best is yet to come, as inside the convent, we find a recreation of a religious procession. The atmosphere is thick with incense and the room is spectacularly beautiful. I feel like I am on a film set. In the internal courtyard of the convent and among the olive trees, there are more spectacular gowns. These have full skirts and are all hand painted, celebrating the traditional Sicilian carts – the ‘carretto siciliano’.
The Taormina bay in the distance, the music playing, and of course the clothes – everything gets more beautiful by the minute. Sicily really has been a dream, from start to glorious finish.