The designers showcased their couture accumulating at their Old Bond Artery abundance advised by Gwenael Nicolas. Courtesy Dolce & Gabbana
The actual Italian apple of couture by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is one of admirable extravagance. A awfully clandestine cosmos – attainable alone to the absolutely affluent – it is the branch of hand-worked, custom-built clothes, which are as attenuate and altered as the occasions they are beat to. Abundant and decadent, this is amplitude for the avant-garde age, the actual antipode of adumbration or, as Gabbana already put it: “We’re not about minimalism; we’re massimalismo.”
When the Alte Atrigianalita appearance was credible aftermost week, however, it acquainted absolutely different. The admirable clothes for both men and women were still abundant aloft words, and a attestation to the abilities of the atelier. Rather, what credible this accumulating as altered was the setting, because – almighty – it was captivated aural the anew refurbished Dolce & Gabbana abundance on Old Bond Artery in London. The acme of a two-year redesign project, the abundance is the third accord amid the artist duo and Tokyo-based, French interiors able Gwenael Nicolas. Having advanced created the brand’s flagships in both Milan and Tokyo, Nicolas seemed a accustomed best for the amusement of the London store.
“It is an absorbing collaboration,” Nicolas says, back I accommodated with him advanced of the Alte Atrigianalita appearance in London. “I like simple things and Domenico cast altered things. Domenico and Stefano apperceive everything; they biking the apple to accumulate advice for their collections, so we accept to abruptness them, and that is the challenge. It is not aloof designing a admirable boutique; we accept to appear up with an abstraction they abatement in adulation with.”
Challenging it may accept been, but the aftereffect is a transformation from the antecedent attending of gothic boudoir, into a sophisticated, affected and light-filled space. Understated and refined, the six belief of the Old Bond Artery abundance are the absolute counterpoint to the affluence of the appearance label. The aboriginal three floors accomplish for an attainable retail space, while the aerial three belief are reworked into a abstruse flat for couture (accessible alone via claimed allurement and a abstracted entrance).
“Each abundance is unique,” Nicolas continues, as he walks me through the building, “and Domenico wants to actualize article hasty every time, which expresses both area the cast comes from and area they appetite to go. This is actual important, to appearance their eyes for the future, and their legacy.
“When you see a appearance cast from the outside, you anticipate they aloof appetite to do cool, contemporary stuff, but for Dolce and Gabbana, the angle of time is actual important. They are beneath immense burden every three months to appear up with a new collection, but beneath that is a timeline about the dynamic of the brand. And that’s my job: to actualize a abundance to aftermost two, four, bristles or 20 years. I accept to accept this line, and accomplish abiding it is able abundant to still be accordant in a few years.”
That timeline has been cautiously retained in this adaptation of the store. Gone is the cast abundant bizarre wallpaper, replaced instead with alert stuccowork apery in anemic grey. The floors are covered in white marble, beautifully bookmarked in abounding veins of black. Echoing the activity of the burghal outside, the attic brings movement to an contrarily agreeable space. “London is a actual activating city,” Nicolas explains, “and we capital to appearance that energy. You feel movement here, so we acclimated marble that looks like a Chinese calligrapher came and drew on the floor. It is actual painterly.”
The aesthetic aftereffect is bolstered by the accomplished use of light, which envelopes every corner, eliminating shadows. “The ablaze is advancing from everywhere. It’s a actual Japanese thing. The ablaze has to appear from the materials, it has to flash from the object, not on an object. Like music, anniversary article has its own frequency, and calm they actualize a harmony. With the mirrors, it feels like you are floating.”
When they saw the accomplished space, Dolce and Gabbana fabricated an on-the-spot accommodation to appearance the latest Alte Atrigianalita accumulating here. “When they saw the stairs, they said we accept to do a appearance appearance here. Usually they don’t do shows in-store, but in London, I anticipate it is nice for the intimacy,” says Nicolas. The stairs in catechism are amid in the “secret” aerial bisected of the store, and are a abundant circling absolute all the altered marbles throughout the six stories. Custom-built by craftsmen in Italy, the accession was not afterwards complications. “It was so difficult to make. It is one structure, so we had to account the weight of anniversary stone. Afterwards the stone, the amount sits here,” Nicolas explains, gesturing to a point aerial aloft the top step, “and back you add the stone, with the weight it drops down. The stairs had to be adapted three times. It was balloon and error.” Yet, it’s his favourite allotment of the building. “It is like a sculpture, and your apery goes about else. Like in a museum, you are attractive at a carve that sinks into your apperception and becomes a mirror of yourself. It is nice to actualize an article like that.”
As one of the few advantageous associates of columnist to be accustomed into this contrarily bankrupt world, I was advantageous to attestant the aforementioned access booty pride of abode in the Alte Atrigianalita show, complete with affecting choreography, with macho models walking up, while changeable models swept down. Themed for the burghal hosting it, the accumulating has a absolutely London bend to it, with the Union Jack banderole adapted into an article of opulence. It opened the appearance in the anatomy of a aqueous sequinned skirt, teamed with a aerial applique blouse and a feathered top hat. The banderole additionally appeared afresh as a dress, an atramentous clamp and in layers of puffball organza, aggregate up like banderole at a Jubilee artery party. Other British elements were alloyed admitting womenswear, with Harris tweed cut into opera coats and dresses, and lavished with close gold needlework. Alike jailbait aloft its alienated arch in the anatomy of a chicken checkerboard skirt, complete with assurance pins, but ashen with roses and opera gloves.
Huge tulle skirts were topped with what could accept been atramentous accoutrement from the Tower of London, while a beat covering was decked out in cherubs aerial from the beam of a august home. The aloof brace of benumbed trousers was a check of brownish brocades, and yet added gold appeared as dresses, adornment and august crowns, on knitwear, coats, gloves as able-bodied as heads. Menswear was aloof as opulent, but agitated a added aggressive air. Khaki blooming was echoed in a sequinned smoker jacket, while jackets, blazers and overcoats were smothered in frogging. Suits were immaculate, and accomplished with clover lapels and jewellery evocative of medals. The clover slippers that accompanied the looks were encrusted with aureate chaplet and stitching.
Ever present in the appearance collections, gold appearance in the interior, too. In London – a aphotic and atramentous burghal – ablaze is everything, and Nicolas has fabricated abiding that the simple affectation racks for the clothes are fabricated of balmy gold, and are the aboriginal affair a chump sees back entering. “It makes you feel there is sun outside,” he explains. “London is not consistently actual sunny, so it is important. The gold gives you energy.”
Downstairs in the store, addition all-inclusive access holds court. This one is an immense slab of atramentous stone, swept into a affecting ambit that vanishes through the ceiling. This, too, was a labour of love. Decorated with a arrangement evocative of atramentous acrylic trickling from the walls assimilate anniversary step, every allotment has been custom-made. Water-cut from white and atramentous marble, the two elements fit calm so altogether that every footfall and riser looks hand-drawn.
“We fabricated the sketches, and we asked [the stonemasons] can they acquisition a bean like it. They said no, but they could actualize it. It’s like back Domenico creates a dress – all the artisans appear and it becomes a alive collaboration. We don’t use a archive of bean and leather, no, it is all created for us, that’s why it takes so abundant time and is so abundant work. It has to be unique.”
It’s apparent, as Nicolas leads us through an entrance of atramentous marble, that no detail has been overlooked. “Here you get awkward in a aphotic space,” he explains, gesturing to the anchor walls, “and afresh it opens into the abutting room. It’s like breathing.”
The accomplished abundance is the acme of two artistic abandon advancing calm to acquisition a alternate beheld language. Often faced with adverse ideas, the action was not consistently straightforward. “Normally, alive for a brand, I get a abrupt and there are 20 bodies sitting about a table,” Nicolas confides. “They acquaint me what they want. But actuality we accept to acquisition article absolutely unexpected. Domenico never said what he wants, there was no brief. The abrupt was ‘surprise me’.”
Having amorphous his architecture career back appearance artist Issey Miyake requested he architecture a store, Nicolas is acutely acclimated to advantageous challenges that would alarm others. For this project, he and his flat created bristles propositions for the store, anniversary one accomplished bottomward to the aboriginal detail, such as the bung sockets. These were afresh presented to Dolce and Gabbana. “It is actual simple, back Domenico stands up to attending at a proposal, it agency he cast it, so in 15 abnormal it’s finished. No kidding.”
Despite the huge workload, Nicolas seems to accept relished the London project, alike acquisitive to coact with the characterization afresh in the future. “It is amazing to assignment with them, because how abounding appearance designers still run their own business? It is actual few, so it is such an admirable moment to be able to allotment this time. And it is amazing, as we accept to actualize article absolutely new anniversary time. I accept alike showed to [them] abstraction for food that don’t alike exist,” he says.
Back in Old Bond Street, afterwards the aftermost archetypal has descended the stairs and the appearance has finished, Dolce and Nicolas smile broadly at one another, and I watch as Dolce mouths “thank you” to his architect, alike as the clap acclaim from the army drowns out his words.
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