Isabella Rossellini shot by Steven Meisel for the Dolce & Gabanna Fall 1989 campaign.
When the duo broke out in 1986 they quickly became known for purveying a unique and sophisticated sexuality. Formed from their own Italian/Sicilian heritage, the inspiration was more Visconti and Fellini than anything banal or pulp — as it could easily be misinterpreted for. Coming into their own as the decade petered away from excess and androgyny, it was Dolce & Gabanna’s hyper-classical take on femininity, as subdued and understated as it could be, that would lead the way. In 1989, with photography by Stephen Meisel, this overlooked facet of the designers’ universe was perhaps no better illustrated and, at the same time, obscured.
Excerpt from “Clothes for Fall Soothe Rather Than Shock”
By Bernadine Morris
Too much sobriety can be numbing, and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana made sure this didn’t happen. The principals in Dolce & Gabbana turned fashion inside out.
They gave corsets, panty girdles and bras new meaning as outerwear. These were paved in rhinestones and big multicolored stones or were made of fabric that looked like Jackson Pollock had dribbled paint on them.
The corsets were decorated with skating skirts made of black fox tails or layers of chiffon. They were sheltered by ostrich boas or fake leopard capes and for the new propriety were worn over black tights and had turtleneck tops.
Bracelets of colored stones climbed up the arms. Hadn’t Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier showed the way? Not for an entire collection. Where do you wear these things? Late-night clubs or swimming pools, of course. Are these clothes for liberated women or for sex objects? Topic for a seminar. Either way, the show provided a break in a serious season.