Dolce & Gabbana’s “Hot Baroque” line: Recreating Napoleonic Attitudes for Today? by Chris White

Here for readers of “A Revolution in Fiction” is a collection of the photos and the news release on the controversial “Napoleonic” line promoted by Dolce & Gabanna in 2006-07—a controversy which extended far beyond the world of haute couture to incur the wrath of the British publishing industry and an official censure (see Reuters 1/10/07). Check out the bottom ones in particular for evidence of homicidal tendencies…

During a search of Dolce & Gabbana on the internet some time ago, I discovered the original posting on this site (“Weird Liaisons,” May 31, 2009), saw that the photo posted there was actually from a Christian Dior collection, and sent in a correction. (That photo and posting have now been updated to correct the error. –Editor) After a bit of research, I was able to locate the real Dolce & Gabbana photos, which are somewhat hard to find due to the short-lived and sexy/violent/controversial nature of the campaign. I have posted the official news release below. The clothing is gorgeous, as we all must agree. But it is interesting that the news release does not mention the sensational violence used in the ad campaign, nor does it make connections between the actual events of Napoleon’s reign (such as the 500,000 Frenchmen who died in the Emperor’s catastrophic attempt to conquer Russia in 1812) and the cruel, misogynistic poses of the models…

According to the Dolce & Gabbana news release: “The sophisticated charm of royal beauties, the amazing allure of imperial feasts and the romantic style echoing Napoleon’s gliding parades are the essence of this Dolce & Gabbana fall/winter 2006-07 collection that played around the Emperor, his famous wives, and his well known lovers.

Short jackets with metal buttons and military embroideries, à la Imperial Army, complement perfectly designed coats and fitted jackets in new proportions, which are worn over high-collared shirts. Tight knickers and jodhpurs accentuate the silhouette and create a long line when worn with high boots. Romantic capes and empire-waist baby doll dresses create a feminine counterbalance to the androgynous Imperial side of the collection. The result is a juxtaposition of Napoleon versus Josephine that celebrates the two sensual sides of a woman – a woman who plays with the symbols of power but knows that her real force is always found within.

The color palette and detailed accents of the collection are what truly define and distinguish each look. Sable, chalk, ice, and canvas are the most important colors that compose this serene palette. Touches of royal blue, deep red and emerald green, strategically used throughout the collection, add a regal opulence to the show. Detailed accents of gold-brushed chains, Napoleonic bees and gold laurel leaves create a strong statement of luxury, refinement, and elegance. In addition, over forty-three different kinds of intricacies (from archives of the most prestigious and historical Parisian couture atelier) glisten on coats, jackets, and dresses.

The “Miss Waterloo” bag is shaped like an antique coin-purse, with a round buckle and a short leather and metal handle; the same fastening enhances the “Miss Lise” bag, in velvet and fine leathers. The “Gloriosa” bag is also in velvet (in lots of colours) or in leather, and has a dense DG embroidered logo with imperial laurel and gold chains. The bijou “Etoile” bags, in velvet and encrusted with pearls and feathers, complete the grand finale look; but the real “it-bag” for this season is the “Hot Baroque”, embellished with baroque buckles and gilt laurel leaves, produced in ostrich, eel or leather.”


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