Milan’s Palazzo Reale Launches Lavish Dolce&Gabbana Retrospective

| Tue, 04/09/2024 - 15:13
Dal cuore alle mani
Dal Cuore alle Mani (From the Heart to the Hands): Dolce&Gabbana / Photo: Michael Adair

Milan’s Palazzo Reale has just opened Dal Cuore alle Mani (From the Heart to the Hands): Dolce&Gabbana, an exhibition celebrating the work of designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, whose eponymous fashion house took root in Milan 40 years ago shortly after the pair’s first meeting.

Backed by the City of Milan and billed as a love letter to Italy’s artistic heritage, traditions and culture, the exhibition spotlights the many Italian influences on the Dolce&Gabbana story (minus any significant emphasis on the not-insignificant controversies the duo has waded into over the years). 

Cultural Director and Director of Palazzo Reale Domenico Piraina said that Dal Cuore alle Mani explores “the genesis of the creative spark that has illuminated two world-renowned designers” and encourages visitors to reflect on the creative forces that have shaped their own worldviews. 

For Dolce&Gabbana, those forces include art, artisans and la dolce vita, but also “less obvious aspects such as music, architecture, opera, and local customs,” mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala said in a statement. 

The blockbuster show, curated by fashion historian Florence Müller in partnership with IMG, arranges archival and new pieces from D&G’s women’s, men’s and jewelry lines across multiple floors and themed rooms in Palazzo Reale. Highlights include a section inspired by Venetian glassmaking, backdropped by gilded chandeliers and mirrors; an area with live demonstrations given by D&G tailors, artisans and seamstresses (Fridays only, from 11am-1pm and 4-6pm); and a focus on The Leopard both the Luchino Visconti film (based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel) and the recurring feline motif in many D&G designs. Domenico’s Sicilian background has often been a talking point for the brand, and the island’s literary and artistic traditions figure prominently into the exhibition, well beyond The Leopard.

Müller’s curatorial statement emphasized the role of creative freedom in the D&G brand’s achievements and larger story. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana “are among the rare designers who are both the founders and the owners of their fashion house and thus free to do whatever they like,” she noted. “And one thing they love is to pay tribute to the passion of those who create beauty through the intelligence of their hands.”

Domenico and Stefano first met at a nightclub in Milan in the early 1980s, and soon after opened their first fashion consulting studio together. Though their high-profile romantic relationship ended in the early 2000s, they continued to work as business partners; today, the D&G label is reportedly worth around €4.9 billion ($5.3 billion). 

After its run in Milan Italy’s fashion capital and D&G’s headquarters the show is slated to tour internationally, though the lineup of cities has not yet been released. 

If you go

From the Heart to the Hands: Dolce&Gabbana
April 7-July 31
Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo 12, Milan
Open: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7.30pm; Thursday until 10.30pm