Dolce & Gabbana

In fashion news, Dolce & Gabbana came to New York City Friday night to throw the fashion party of the year: “Dazzling” is the perfect word to describe Alta Moda, an extravaganza of Fall 2018 haute couture jewelry and mens- and womenswear collections.

Four days of presentations opened with a couture jewelry exhibit and gala dinner at the New York Public Library. Dolce & Gabbana has moved past the traditional fashion show, favoring to instead offer its clientele—who are among the richest people on the planet—unforgettable experiences, hosting getaway weekend presentations in locales like Tokyo, Palermo, Italy, and St. Petersburg, Russia, to name a few.

The fashion press and celebrities alike take a back seat at these events, which are truly dedicated to the families who have the lifestyle, the billionaire budget and the devotion to Dolce & Gabbana’s fabulously joyful, no-excess-is-too-excessive-as-long-as-it-is-beautiful aesthetic. The well-to-do flew in from Angola, Kuwait, Paris, Moscow, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro to join American compatriots for Dolce & Gabbana’s homage to New York.

Dolce & Gabbana rolled the red carpet down the massive stairs of the main branch of the New York Public Library. Cherry blossoms decked the urns on the staircase, while strains of Italian opera serenaded the crowd gathered to watch the guests arrive. Even for my very practiced and privileged eye, when it comes to the world of high fashion, the evening’s guests were extraordinarily dressed.

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Inside the library: the cocktail hour and jewelry exhibit. Tuxedoed waiters served Cristal in classic champagne coupes to attendees—like the evening’s hosts, Marjorie and Steve Harvey—while guests perused the jewelry exhibit.

My favorite pieces were, of course, inspired by New York City, the city to which Dolce & Gabbana had come to pay homage for its vibrancy and creativity.

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Each case containing the jewelry was a little world unto itself: Medallions, which Cardi B would find heavenly, studded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies spelling out “I Love NY” felt modern and sexy. Bracelet-style watches made of gold that twirled like a breeze around the wrist and featured ascending airplanes with pear-shaped diamond wings recalled the 1930s in a timeless way. Gloved gemologists were on hand to open the cases and sell the jewelry to the clients, some of whom wore their purchases to the dinner that was served in the wood-paneled reference room of the library on the top floor.

Steve Harvey welcomed diners saying, “This is not my world. It’s my wife’s world. I just pay for the clothes.” Sounds of laughter traveled around the room as plates of saffron risotto, veal medallions and broccoli rabe were were served by waitstaff dressed in maroon waiters’ jackets brought in from Milan especially for the occasion. Candelabras and pretty pink spring bouquets sprouted up from every table, adding to the operatic atmosphere of the room.

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What made the evening incredibly charming was how Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce extended a warm welcome to attending families. Children from 6 or 7 years old, dressed in Dolce & Gabbana, darted in between the tables, while well-heeled teens appeared to be living the very, very good life with their parents in the tableau vivant vision of Dolce & Gabbana’s New York City.

Christie’s auction house and actress Sarah Jessica Parker were on hand to auction off a set of diamond and aquamarine earrings, for which a single buyer paid $350,000 to support job training and improved protections against sexual harassment for female workers in America’s restaurant industry.

Saturday night: The Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center played host to the Alta Sartoria, Dolce & Gabbana’s men’s haute couture made-to-measure fashion show, again hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, with celebs like Trevor Noah sitting front row with some of the richest people on the planet.

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Mind you, this was happening while Cardi B was getting ready to perform next door at Saturday Night Live, where she’d reveal her baby bump and officially announce her pregnancy.

Meanwhile, in the glorious art-deco Rainbow Room taken over by Dolce & Gabbana, the legendary Liza Minnelli was carried out in a sedan chair by a crew of handsome boys and planted center stage. The band struck up the chords to Minnelli’s rendition of “Money” from the hit musical Cabaret, and she was in fine form as the fashions came glittering out on the runway.

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The Dolce & Gabbana man lights up the world because he owns it.

Shawl-collar teddy bear coats in plush pastel furs that skimmed the ankles were worn over sharply tailored double-breasted Lurex suits. Smoking jackets in silks and satins beaded with New York’s skyline were true standouts. Christian “King” Combs’ appearance in a red, crystal tux defined modern Manhattan as the runway finale.

But it’s not over: I’ll be back with more from the Dolce & Gabbana fashion extravaganza Wednesday.