Dolce & Gabbana: Sicilian Heritage and the Sensuality of the Feminine Woman

Established in 1985, Dolce & Gabbana is today an iconic fashion brand that amalgamates Sicilian heritage with the sultry femininity of its women. Here you find ten key essentials at the core of the brand’s inspiration.

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Women of certain Mediterranean backgrounds will certainly notice, in every Dolce & Gabbana look, a quite familiar flair: The lace corsets, fitted midi dresses, bright floral prints, cat-eyes, red lipsticks, pearls, flowers, and devotional jewelry easily remind us of the implicit sense of style that our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers used to enjoy and diligently pass on to their daughters. This is a style that elegantly blends sensuality with self-confident femininity: The way of life of proud women, who built a warm atmosphere of togetherness with their friends, family, and community, in which they played the main role.

Building on this nostalgic, typical Mediterranean, and specifically Southern Italian sense of femininity, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana found their inspiration in Domenico’s Sicilian roots from the beginning on. Paying homage to the sultry femininity of Sicilian women, and the traditions, heritage, and craftsmanship of their culture, they established -and keep embracing- ten essentials at the core of the brand universe:

  1. The Sicilian dress.
  2. Black lace.
  3. Heritage prints.
  4. Floral prints.
  5. Leopard prints.
  6. The Bellucci pumps.
  7. The Sicily bag.
  8. The Devotion bag.
  9. Sicilian jewelry.
  10. Vintage Italian cinema.

1. The Sicilian Dress

In 2011, the internationally recognized fashion editor Hal Rubinstein published the book 100 Unforgettable Dresses, where he included “The Sicilian dress”, a piece of the fourth Dolce & Gabbana collection. Inspired by classical Italian lady’s underwear, the Sicilian dress was first designed in the late eighties, depicting an unmistakable figure-flattering silhouette: Held by straps, it tightens softly the waist, delineates the hips, and has a soft push up effect on the breasts. The Sicilian dress is one of Dolce & Gabbana’s most iconic fashion pieces and is reinterpreted every season anew.

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2. Black Lace

Along with the Sicilian dress, black lace is an essential component in every Dolce & Gabbana collection. Truly emblematic, black lace finds its traditional place in Southern European catholic women’s attires. The black lace veil, used for church service, processions, and other more or less dramatic religious rites, reveals its most alluring sides in Dolce & Gabbana creations, where it is transformed in profoundly mysterious, seductive fashion pieces.

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3. Heritage Prints

The colorful imagery that characterizes traditional Sicilian ceramics, pottery, and puppets is a great source of inspiration for the most cheerful Dolce & Gabbana fashion looks. In them, the rich heritage of a nearly three thousand year old culture finds its liveliest interpretation, and is narrated as fanciful as a fairy tale: Sumptuous flowers, bright citrus fruits, splendid medieval soldiers, glorious icons, vivid tile art, and even the Sicilian flag find their most playful expression in radiant fabric prints!

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4. Floral Prints

Impressive flowers, especially huge, gorgeous roses, are depicted in various Dolce & Gabbana designs in always new, ingenious ways. The floral-printed dresses of the brand are anything but unrecognizable, and have become iconic fashion pieces on their own. Full of impact, they make us feel the captivating opulence of exuberant Sicilian gardens, and fuel the style of the wearer with a vibrant, high-spirited femininity.

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5. Leopard Prints

The sumptuous, sensual character of the Dolce & Gabbana woman is best expressed by leopard prints in the most inventive combinations. Seen in dresses, coats, trousers, and accessories of all kinds, adorning the Sicilian dress silhouette, embellished with roses, or enriched with the finest black lace, the Dolce & Gabbana leopard prints are already a classic of the brand’s aesthetic universe.

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6. The Bellucci Pumps

Covered entirely in traditional Taormina lace, Dolce & Gabbana honors with the Bellucci pumps the elegant power of attraction of the brand’s long-time muse Monica Bellucci. Embellished with a crystal brooch, reminding of a voluptuous Sicilian narcissus flower, the Bellucci pumps flaunt a very feminine, classic silhouette. They are reinterpreted in different colors and heights every season anew, and belong to the most inherent Dolce & Gabbana essentials.

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7. The Sicily Bag

Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicily bag was first introduced as Miss Sicily in Fall/Winter 2009. This nostalgic doctor-shaped piece rends homage to the durable handcrafted bags of the fifties. In different sizes, colors and styles, with various compartments in the inside, and a detachable, adjustable strap, the Sicily bag merges timelessness, versatility, and functionality, being already an icon among the classic designer bags.

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8. The Devotion Bag

Introduced in Fall/Winter 2018, the linear-shaped Devotion bag has already conquered an important place in the Dolce & Gabbana universe. Apart from the high-quality leather craftmanship that also characterizes the Sicily bag, the Devotion bag depicts the sacro cuore on its front, an allusion to the catholic imagery of the sacred heart as the central feature of its design. Deeply rooted in the Sicilian heritage, this devotion is interpreted in the distinctive Dolce & Gabbana style: Embellished with pearls and foliage on micro-forged brass and copper!

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9. Sicilian Jewelry

The Dolce & Gabbana jewelry style is clearly influenced by traditional Sicilian coral and ceramic jewelry arts and crafts, being roses, hearts, and devotional symbols the most characteristic motifs. Often embellished with crystals and golden metals, the mostly dangle and drop designs appear glamorous due to their luxuriant sizes and elaborated ornaments.

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10. Vintage Italian Cinema

Vintage Italian movies, concretely the white and black movies of the forties -with actress Ana Magnagni as their muse-, were the main inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana’s first advertising campaign in 1989. Shot by Italian photographer Francesco Scianna in Sicily, the aesthetic and story-telling of the original campaign would give shape to a brand’s self-conception that endures until today. After further inspirations, for instance from the Luchino Visconti movies, the vintage cinema aesthetic of Dolce & Gabbana was taken on by the legendary Italian film-maker and photographer Giuseppe Tornatore for some of this year’s spring/summer ads, as well.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring/Summer 2019 women’s advertising campaign by Giuseppe Tornatore. Image: Dolce & Gabbana.

What do you think? Did we really find the most remarkable essentials of the Dolce & Gabbana woman’s universe? Which elements would you still miss? Share them with us!

Sofia Bartra de Loayza

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