Following on from their first Alta Moda (haute couture) women's line in Taormina on the Sicilian Coast four years ago, and moving on to Venice in 2013 and Capri last year, this summer Dolce & Gabbana showed not only their Autumn/Winter 2015 Alta Moda collection, but Alta Gioielleria (fine jewellery) and Alta Sartoria (tailored menswear) collections in Portofino to a selection of press and new generation of couture clients.
The stunning location makes sense on many levels, not excluding the fact that Stefano and Domenico’s adjacent villas are perched seaside in a nearby cove.
When it came to the Alta Moda presentation, guests who didn't have private boats, us included, were ferried from Santa Margherita to Portofino’s harbour by a fleet of Riva Boats.
The invitations urged guests to wear flat, comfortable shoes, as the trek uphill would be steep. Everyone interpreted this request differently. Some wore trainers and held their heels in hand to change. Some irreverent fashionistas climbed in heels and looked remorseful. Carmen took somewhat of a middle ground in flat gladiator sandals.
The inspiration behind the set for the show was Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. Fairies hung from the trees above the topiaries and models in sequinned mini-dresses strewed the ground with flowers. The women’s haute couture collection was as enchanting as ever and exuded a strong, moving sense of fantasy. Empire-line gowns in gauzy organzas and massive ball gowns with crystal bustiers above full skirts adorned with Italian flowers. We especially loved an enchanting printed silk evening coat with a thick sable trim.
After the show we made our way to the terrace, where diners enjoyed Ligurian fare: sea bass tartare, grilled octopus, pasta with walnut sauce and tiramisu.
The party that followed was positively surreal, especially as everyone had gone to such great lengths to tap into the theatrical ambiance. Great minds style alike it seems, as Carmen and Anna Dello Russo wore the same Dolce & Gabbana belt.
The next evening, for Alta Sartoria, we decided to commute with a few discerning guests who didn’t want to ruin their hair travelling by boat. So we took to the road, which was backed up with traffic and we missed the men’s show, but did accidentally end up with real insider access (i.e. backstage with the models).
At the Oro closing party at Covo di Nord Est nightclub, we were asked to wear gold, the eternal symbol of luxury. An ambassador of the brand, Kylie Minogue performed and modelled pieces from the new Portofino capsule collection, available now at Net-a-Porter.