Have you ever noticed how some fashion designers are obsessed with undergarments, and constantly incorporate them into their ensembles? The most famous example is none other than (the original) Christian Dior, whose romantic, New Look silhouettes of 1947 were totally dependant on the wasp-waist corselets and starched crinolines worn underneath.
To wear a Christian Dior gown in the 1950s meant you had to have the corresponding Dior undergarments to give you the right proportions. Without them, the silhouette of the dress just didn’t work.
Flash forward to today, where Italian design dynamos Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana work in a similar, yet contemporary manner to old Mr. Dior. Since their debut in the late eighties, practically every Dolce&Gabbana collection features silhouettes whose foundation is dead sexy, retro-inspired lingerie. The lacy hem of a silk slip peeks out under a razor-sharp tailored suit, or a black satin corset is revealed under a sheer, lingerie like dress, for example. Dolce&Gabbana’s trademark is a curious juxtaposition of flash, fetish, and sophistication. As with Christian Dior before them, Dolce&Gabbana’s clothes require the proper style of undergarments to look their best.
The lingerie designed by Dolce&Gabbana is unique and instantly recognizable. Animal prints, for example, have become a house classic, as has black satin and intricate laces. As for shapes, the strapless corselet and balconette style bra are revisited and reconfigured again and again. Finally, the undergarments of the 1950s are a huge source of inspiration for the duo; you can always find structured cone shaped bras and high-waisted panties (modeled on the foundation
undergarments of that decade). Their lingerie, combined with their fashions, makes me think of a Sicilian housewife who is, on one hand, a conservative Catholic matriarch, while at the same time harboring naughty hidden desires beneath the surface.
As we are all aware, high-fashion lingerie comes with a high price tag, and not many people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on their knickers! It is easy, however, to incorporate the look of the Dolce&Gabbana sexiness into your existing wardrobe. All you need is a fabulous balconette bra or corselet (preferably with black lace or leopard print) to wear underneath a semi-sheer black blouse. If this look is too revealing for some, pair your sheer blouse with a tailored, black skirt or pantsuit and you will have captured the elegant kink of the Italian fashion mavericks.
I hope you like the work of Dolce&Gabbana as much as I do! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Featured image: Looks from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring/Summer 2010 women’s ready-to-wear runway collection during Milan Fashion Week. Photo credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times