A league of Its own

Dolce and Gab­bana’s Alta Sar­to­ria line raises the bar on haute cou­ture for men, and is pos­si­bly the most in­dul­gent way for one to re­alise his wildest fash­ion fan­tasies. By Lance Lim

Men's Folio (Singapore) - - Contents -

Dolce and Gab­bana’s Alta Sar­to­ria line raises the bar on haute cou­ture for men

Mar­ry­ing ex­quis­ite crafts­man­ship with ma­te­ri­als of the finest qual­ity, haute cou­ture for men has be­come the new play­ground for the elite gen­tle­man to ex­press his in­di­vid­u­al­ity through fash­ion. Judg­ing by the full at­ten­dance of ex­cep­tion­ally af­flu­ent at­ten­dees at Dolce & Gab­bana’s re­cent show­ing of its Alta Sar­to­ria line in Mi­lan, it is clear that the ap­petite for lux­ury menswear has been el­e­vated to whole new level. As the French term “haute cou­ture” lit­er­ally trans­lates to “sewing at a high level”, one should ex­pect noth­ing less than finest hand­crafted and one- of-a- kind pieces from the col­lec­tion.

From con­cept to com­ple­tion, Domenico Dolce and Ste­fano Gab­bana en­vi­sioned a spe­cific type of gen­tle­man for this sea­son’s Alta Sar­to­ria line. “He’s a ten­nis- play­ing, golf- lov­ing eques­trian who trav­els a lot,” says Dolce. With the wide range of hob­bies and in­ter­est of this dis­cern­ing clien­tele, the en­tire wardrobe has to be ver­sa­tile and far- reach­ing. The duo also took sea­sonal and ge­o­graph­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions into ac­count to en­sure that the col­lec­tion is bal­anced and time­less.

From polo shirts in her­ma­line to sports jack­ets en­crusted with golden em­broi­dery, sportswear fil­tered through the eyes of the dy­namic duo is ex­u­ber­ant, op­u­lent, and re­fined. In our ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the fash­ion icons, the pair spoke can­didly about the col­lec­tion and the world of haute cou­ture for men.

Tell us about the con­cept of Alta Sar­to­ria?

Ste­fano Gab­bana: The Alta Sar­to­ria project was born in a very spon­ta­neous and nat­u­ral way. The hus­bands of our Alta Moda clients were the ones who asked us why there wasn’t a men’s col­lec­tion, so that is what we did! Domenico Dolce: Alta Sar­to­ria ful­fils dreams, those hid­den wishes we all se­cretly have within us. The client comes to us, ex­presses his de­sires, and we do our best to make them come true. We try to make dreams come true. Is there any­thing bet­ter than that? SG: The Alta Sar­to­ria col­lec­tion al­lows men to open up about his iden­tity; it is the free­dom of cre­ativ­ity in its purest form.

How does Alta Sar­to­ria fit into your vision for the brand? Is haute cou­ture rel­e­vant to menswear?

DD: I be­lieve that Alta Sar­to­ria is com­ing back as an im­por­tant el­e­ment in the aes­thetic of a con­tem­po­rary man. Back in the 1970s, no one dared any longer; there was no imag­i­na­tion, ex­u­ber­ance, or sim­ply long­ing to be your­self. You were no longer free or cre­ative and just adapted to the mo­ment’s trend. With the 1980s, some­thing be­gan to change; men started to be aware of them­selves and of their per­sonal taste. Alta Sar­to­ria is ex­tremely in­ti­mate and very per­sonal! It is the fash­ion you want to be. SG: It rep­re­sents a dream that we’ve al­ways kept in our closet, we were wait­ing for the right mo­ment. When it came out, no one could stop us.

The lat­est Alta Sar­to­ria show­ing in Mi­lan was beau­ti­ful, amaz­ing, and lux­u­ri­ous. Tell us more about the col­lec­tion.

DD: The main source of in­spi­ra­tion were the rooms of the Palazzo Labus, they were so beau­ti­ful and so abun­dant of what we were look­ing for – a time­less style. For us, Clas­si­cism has al­ways been a syn­onym of man’s tai­lor­ing and beauty. We have cre­ated more than 80 looks, and all of them are in­spired by the 1930s. They are pieces that will last for an eter­nity. SG: Nev­er­the­less, for the first time, we thought of sports that men played ev­ery day. Hence, we cre­ated pieces for golf, ten­nis, and eques­trian lovers. DD: There is a py­jama you can wear to play ten­nis!

How long does it take to pro­duce a col­lec­tion with so many looks? How do you draw a dis­tinc­tion be­tween this and the Dolce & Gab­bana readyto-wear col­lec­tion?

SG: Plenty of time and de­vo­tion, and months of hard work. We are ob­sessed with de­tails, metic­u­lous­ness, and find­ing the right bal­ance. Ev­ery sin­gle el­e­ment needs to be in har­mony with the col­lec­tion, it is a game of del­i­cate bal­ance and in­ces­sant re­search. We never get tired of re­search­ing and read­ing, we like to re­cap­ture past pieces and rein­vent them. DD: As for the sec­ond ques­tion, surely, they are two very dif­fer­ent things, prêt-à- porter and Alta Moda, yet they have the same im­por­tance. On one side there is the Alta Moda, which a dream few can af­ford. While on the other side, the ready-to-wear, which is the en­gine of our com­pany that evolves along­side us. It ad­dresses all and uses a uni­ver­sal lan­guage, yet it ex­presses our DNA, our sen­sual and el­e­gant tra­di­tions.

Are there any new ma­te­ri­als in this col­lec­tion? What are some of the ex­quis­ite ma­te­ri­als used?

DD: We have cre­ated mink bomber jack­ets, Ar­gen­tinian fox pullovers, and a long coy­ote fur coat with a very so­phis­ti­cated cor­ru­gated tech­nique. SG: How can we for­get the er­mine polo shirts?

When it came to sketch­ing de­signs for the Alta Sar­to­ria col­lec­tion, do you have a spe­cific type of gen­tle­man in mind?

DD: We think of a man that has a he­do­nis­tic feel­ing when dress­ing; a man who searches for the right fab­ric, in the col­lab­o­ra­tion with the tai­lor, in find­ing the per­fect de­tail. SG: Alta Sar­to­ria needs to be an ab­so­lute ex­pe­ri­ence for the man who de­cides to treat him­self with it. It is not just about the piece, it is about the dream, the de­sire, the story that a piece can only nar­rate.

It’s clear that Alta Sar­to­ria presents a whole new level of lux­ury for men, but how far can a cus­tomer per­son­alise a look from the col­lec­tion?

SG & DD: To as far as you want! This is the beauty of Alta Sar­to­ria! A man can set his cre­ativ­ity free, with­out any lim­its!

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