‘WE NEED DI­VER­SITY WITHIN DI­VER­SITY, OR ANY CHANGE WILL START TO FEEL HOL­LOW’

The National - News - Luxury - - HIGHLIGHTS -

Ahigh­light of my sum­mer came when I found my­self sit­ting on the shores of Lake Como, watch­ing in won­der­ment as Dolce & Gab­bana’s lat­est Alta Moda pre­sen­ta­tion un­folded in Tre­mezzina’s Tere­sio Oliv­elli botan­i­cal park. The sun was set­ting as the mod­els de­scended from a grand dou­ble stair­case and wove their way through an ex­pec­tant Dolce & Gab­bana-clad au­di­ence.

The out­fits were a fan­tas­ti­cal ode to Lake Como, as well as the lit­er­ary works of Ital­ian au­thor Alessan­dro Man­zoni, whom Ste­fano Gab­bana refers to as “our Shake­speare”. The Alta Moda pre­sen­ta­tion is part of a four-day ex­trav­a­ganza set in some of the coun­try’s most pic­turesque sur­round­ings, where top clients and a hand­ful of in­ter­na­tional press con­verge to wit­ness the Ital­ian de­sign duo’s de­cid­edly Ital­ian ver­sion of haute cou­ture. The clothes were un­de­ni­ably beau­ti­ful – from the ex­pan­sive, 18th-cen­tury-in­spired gowns to the slim­fit­ting frock suits and feather-trimmed ka ans – but an­other thing that stood out about the show was the di­verse rep­re­sen­ta­tion of wom­an­hood that Dolce and Gab­bana chose to send down the run­way.

On the one hand, you had the 70-year-old Maye Musk, who apart from be­ing the mother of Elon, el­e­gantly proves that beauty doesn’t have an age limit. On the other hand, you had a ra­di­ant Hal­ima Aden modelling a vo­lu­mi­nous tiger-print ka an and match­ing head­wrap, while plus-size model of the mo­ment Ash­ley Graham stepped out in all-black. So­cialites shared space with mem­bers of the Bri­tish aris­toc­racy, clients were trans­formed into mod­els, and all skin shades were cel­e­brated.

The main event was Naomi Camp­bell, who sashayed around the park look­ing al­most ex­actly as she did in her 1990s hey­day, a know­ing smile play­ing on her lips. She was joined by Eva Herzigová, who is now 45, and He­lena Chris­tensen, who is nudg­ing 50.

The fash­ion in­dus­try has o en come un­der fire for pro­mot­ing very nar­row ideals of beauty – for a long time, un­less you were young, tall, in­cred­i­bly slen­der and white, you were un­likely to find much suc­cess as a model. Dolce & Gab­bana’s Alta Moda run­way was a re­fresh­ing sign that the par­a­digm has shi ed, even if just slightly. As some­one whose shape has al­ways been more on the Ash­ley Graham than the Ash­ley Olsen end of the scale, I know that see­ing a per­son that you can re­late to, on a run­way or on the cover of a mag­a­zine, can be in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful.

This chang­ing mind­set is one rea­son that Niko, the model whom we were lucky enough to work with for this month’s fash­ion shoot, is en­joy­ing such suc­cess. The stun­ning Bri­tish-Su­danese model is on a dizzy­ing as­cent, and is work­ing with some of the best pho­tog­ra­phers in the world, in­clud­ing Juer­gen Teller, Tim Walker, Har­ley Weir, Rankin and even David Sims. Niko has seen the in­dus­try evolve dra­mat­i­cally over the last few years, she says.

What’s im­por­tant is that things don’t be­come to­kenis­tic. Hal­ima Aden can­not be the only fa­mous hi­jabi model; Ash­ley Graham can­not be the only prom­i­nent plus-size model; and Maye Musk can­not be the only grey-haired model. We need di­ver­sity within that di­ver­sity, or any change will start to feel hol­low. Selina Den­man, edi­tor TREND­ING • Dolce & Gab­bana sends saris down the run­way • Mer­chant of Venice scents in Mu­rano glass • Dubai’s Dh20 mil­lion Polo Homes • Marie An­toinette jew­els at auc­tion For more sto­ries like this, visit www.then­ational.ae/life­style

LUX­URY IS ... JOY­OUS “Lux­ury is some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary that has to give you joy and plea­sure; it is some­thing very in­ti­mate” Alessan­dro Bogli­olo, CEO, Tif­fany & Co, page 32

ON SET A five-hour drive from Casablanca, the Moroc­can city of Che­fchaouen, where we shot this month’s fash­ion ed­i­to­rial, is known for its strik­ing blue-washed build­ings; page 36

STAR­RING Chi­nese-Amer­i­can artist and en­tre­pre­neur Jonathan Koon is the founder of cloth­ing la­bels Pri­vate Stock and Hac­ulla, and be­lieves in keep­ing his de­signs highly cu­rated; page 24

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