Today Dolce & Gabbana confirmed rumours that it will create a small couture collection for the first time, to be showed July 9th to a group of clients in Taormina, Sicily.
The unveiling will take place far from the classic couture environs of Paris; the eye of the Chambre Syndicale, the governing body of the French couture tradition; and the fashion media. The choice is strategic, for a number for reasons:
1. It maintains the very exclusive, private allure of the couture;
2. It allows Dolce & Gabbana to avoid the stringent requirements the French couture world imposes on any brand that wants to call itself a full-fledged couture house;
3. It gives them a chance to launch their first collection free of critics, who might not like it!
Apparently a select few — three — media outlets are being invited to the unveiling, but no American newspapers, and not this one.
Still (no sour grapes here!) it’s interesting that Dolce & Gabbana, which closed it’s lower-priced D&G line last year in order to concentrate on its main line, would choose to, effectively, trade-up to couture.
A source at the brand simply says the designers have been interested in exploring this area for awhile — the old “artistic challenge” line. However to me, this suggests the brand buys into the current thinking that says high luxury is a safe haven in a recession-plagued world (there are always rich people who want really special products and will pay for them), and doesn’t believe the theory about the middle ground I wrote on earlier this week.
Or maybe they just want to stay competitive: a number of their rival Italian brands have entered the couture arena recently, from Versace, which will hold its first full-fledged couture show in years this Sunday, to Armani, with Armani Prive. (Of course, those brands show in Paris.)
What do you think?