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
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!