Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a bold new direction today—with a Fall 2021 collection that aimed to court the elusive ‘Gen Z’ contingent. A notable departure from designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s well-honed brand of high-octane Italian glamour (though referencing many of their most memorable silhouettes), FW21 was a candy-coloured fever dream, complete with cropped vinyl puffers, graffiti printed tie-dye, and an abundance of iridescent loungewear.
Dubbed the #DGNextChapter, the collection was a collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia—inspired by artificial intelligence and robotics, and featuring the cameo of a robot made by the Istituto on the runway. “The most important thing about technology is humans,” Gabbana said in a post-show interview. “Humans make technology. It’s handmade.”
Though the collection skewed away from the brand’s usual offering of boudoir-style pieces, delicate floral prints, and romantic black lace, there were still obvious remnants of the D&G house codes
Beautifully cut T-shirts emblazoned with the words ’90s FASHION’ and ’90s SUPERMODELS’ were tucked into barely-there miniskirts, and corsets embellished with oversized crystals were paired with ’90s-style paperbag jeans and opera gloves.
Those who first fell in love with Dolce & Gabbana in the early ’90s will find the collection—despite its futuristic overtones—brimming with nostalgia. In that sense, Fall21 will likely keep the brand’s faithful customer base onside, even as it makes a play for the younger generation. These kinds of drastic pivots are always a risk—but after 36 years in the business, Dolce and Gabbana have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to their changing customer base. Future classic, indeed.