Never before has New York City’s Metropolitan Opera played host to a fashion show. Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian fashion house known for sparkling excess, were the first ever to have the honor Sunday night in Manhattan, as part of its four-day Alta Moda bespoke men’s and women’s haute couture runway and jewelry presentations.
Dolce & Gabbana, with its unique brand of drama drenched in lace, brocade and sequins, captures the beat of what club kids and millionairesses alike crave for their closets. At Sunday night’s historic presentation at the Met Opera, 100 dresses went out onstage—each one of a kind—and that were ordered via an invitation-only exclusive WhatsApp group.
Those who couldn’t make the show—or didn’t claim an invitation to the event before it almost instantly reached capacity—ordered remotely through WhatsApp from the comfort of their mansions and chateaux and penthouses around the world. With the average price of a dress at around $200,000, this certainly takes online shopping to an entirely new level.
For the Met Opera, where Dolce & Gabbana recently underwrote the translation titles for the organization, this brings a ton of great press and a lot of very wealthy and very much needed potential patrons of the arts through its doors.
While some may find the prices dizzying (to say the least) or impossible to understand, the works are truly beautiful. Craftsmanship of this level can only be kept alive by the sale of the dresses, which supports the years of training required to execute work this fine and the hundreds of hours required to build a single gown by hand.
Women making clothes by hand who are paid a fair wage to create them is an industry I can get behind any day of the week. When it comes to fashion, there are no two sadder words than “lost art.”
Navigating the grand circular staircase at the Met Opera House, which served as the runway in the soaring open lobby, was an art unto itself. Supermodels were in fine form, though even Naomi Campbell, one of the greatest high-steppers of all time, admitted to being nervous about the potential of a career-killing tumble if the models had tripped on their tulle skirts on the death-defying catwalk.
But the diverse all-star cast—including Imaan Hammam, Halima Aden, curvy Revlon supermodel Ashley Graham and the septuagenerian CoverGirl spokesmodel Maye Musk—all handled the runway with style and grace. Particular standouts from the show were army fatigues and parkas with patches of beaded images picturing New York City’s iconic destinations. Ball gowns and two-piece suits with nipped waists and easy trousers trimmed in marabou were breathtaking.
Headdresses and tiaras were a strong theme at D&G, from silk roses to rhinestone Statue of Liberty crowns paired with everything from T-shirts to gowns.
Campbell, a longtime muse of the designers, closed the show in a black satin bustier with a gigantic skirt, with the image of Times Square emblazoned across it—and, of course, her signature showstopping strut.
Afterward, dinner was served on the legendary stage that has played host to great divas like Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle. The aura of opera was wafting in the air against a backdrop of Franco Zeffirelli’s set for Puccini’s Turandot.
As a final dramatic exit, as guests filed home, they were treated to a fireworks display on the plaza in front of Lincoln Center. It was a magical evening for fashion, and a magical evening for New York.