The first model to walk down Dolce & Gabbana's spring '16 runway looked like she could have been plucked off the pages of a 1960s travel magazine: hair tied up in a silk scarf, easy shift dress with "Italia is Love" emblazoned on it alongside iconic Italian images (a gondolier, a dome-topped church). Except, there were some tell-tale signs that this new D&G girl wasn't from the past. What, with her oversized-but-under-occupied shopping bag, and her gem-encrusted cell phone in plain view instead of tucked away in her very able handbag, itself casually draped in the crook of her right elbow. This is a girl who is high-fashion, to be sure, but very different from the sort of woman that high-fashion brands — including Dolce & Gabbana — have been trying to market toward (despite the fact that she's comprised their main demographic for ages). She's materialistic. She's not subtle. She's the kind of person who loads up on souvenir T-shirts and wears them unabashedly while still on vacation (perhaps on the kind of international holidays spent on yachts like the very one Dolce and Gabbana charter themselves). The label's new girl was, indeed, inspired by tourists in Italy. Just replace the five-euro tee with silk-and-sequined shell tops that weigh much heavier on the wallet. Then, ditch the Michelangelo boxers for a red-and-white striped maxi-skirt with sailor buttons and cheeky "Positano" patches, and you're halfway there. Of course, keep the cell phone out.
You can bet that this kind of jet-setting woman takes unself-conscious selfies no matter where she is — whether she's breaking the rules and taking them inside the Duomo or at the end of the runway in Milan. What does it mean, then, that this old-world label is letting down its hair (in this case only figuratively), in favor of click-bait gimmicks at its show? Well, it means two things: One, that Dolce & Gabbana is trying to appeal to a younger, perhaps more mainstream audience. And two, that they've been paying attention to eye-grabbing designer stunts like those Moschino has pulled off under Jeremy Scott's direction.
If the exposed phones, paper shopping bags, and overstated statement shirts feel familiar, it's because you've seen them on the runway of Moschino's most recent collections. And, while that could mean D&G's efforts are derivative of Scott's stylings, we think it's more indicative of the beginning of a larger trend that's going to define many more runway shows and collections. Yes, nowadays designers are using everything from fully themed shows (Chanel's brasserie) to social media-driven ones (Rebecca Minkoff and Misha Nonoo) in order to inspire show-goers and fans to Like, tweet, share, link, 'gram, and chat about the collections. The only difference here is that the commonplace is actually seeping into the clothing's designs — but, in the least commonplace ways possible.
If Scott took Moschino to McDonalds, Dolce & Gabbana are bringing their eponymous line to an airport shop. Both labels are reinterpreting the everyday (fast food, construction, selfies) into their high-brow designs. Clichéd phrases and average images (cameras on the neck, headphones on the head) become repurposed on luxe garments and in sought-after accessories. The result? Everyday items become must-haves. And, in a way, maybe must-haves become everyday. You don't necessarily need these specific items to get the look, but they do act as able sartorial conversation starters, trendsetters, and, yes, moneymakers. The overall message is that everyone — even you — can have a piece of the high-fashion pie.
But, in a world where what's high-end and supposedly inaccessible is a replica of what's easily bought, how do we value fashion? And, are designers just playing tricks on us by putting larger price tags on items we already own? We're calling it now: Next season, there will be even more shows to place an emphasis on buy-it-now accessories that'll make you feel like you need bigger, flashier, better versions of your most banal belongings.
It's clear that their impact is two-fold: Younger shoppers are more aware of the storied labels because of stunts like these. And, it feels easier than ever to get a piece of them. Even if you can't get your hands on the handsomely priced D&G headphones, you can likely appliqué your own. These are certainly aspects of fashion we can get behind. You know, the fun, the instantly shopable, the buzzworthy. All we need to do now is snap a selfie with a headscarf, find a reflective vest, or even just order "fries with that."