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Dolce and Gabbana
celebrate firm's 20th anniversary

Dolce and Gabbana
celebrate firm's 20th anniversary

An emotional Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana celebrated their 20th year of business on Thursday, flicking through archive footage of the sexy style that shot them to stardom and striding into the next decade down on the farm. This was the show fashionistas were looking forward to at Milan fashion week, and even the huge, sweaty queue outside and the hour-long delay did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. When the lights finally went down, a cinema projector flickered into life and flashed up reams of black-and-white pictures of past Dolce & Gabbana shows while the duo's romantic signature tune from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana blared out.

"Their greatness is to have stamped their imprint on a whole look," Franca Sozzani, editor of Italian Vogue, told Reuters. "The image of strength and confidence they created is so recognizable that it truly stands out on the street." After a run through the past, it was on with the show. As the music died down, a curtain drew back to reveal a large haystack. Slowly a stage came up from the floor dotted with Dolce & Gabbana temptresses in demonic red dresses. Bright red lace and broderie anglaise clung to models' bodies, some decorated with wide bands of white or black lace, others printed with poppies or sheaves of wheat, a theme that reappeared on numerous skirts and dresses. Even if the backdrop was pastoral for the show, Dolce & Gabbana kept their sexy edge, as models strutted the catwalk with pieces of straw in mussed-up hair as if they had just emerged from a romp in the hay.

Once the spring-summer 2006 collection hits the stores, Dolce & Gabbana will likely provide plenty of sexy suits, but only a couple were on display on Thursday, either with pencil black skirts or capri-length pin-striped trousers. "There were so many elements, which is typical of them," said Harper's Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey. "To be in business for so long and remain independent is testimony to their continuing creativity, innovation, and skill as businessmen."

For the grand finale, the soundtrack changed to Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, and a dozen courtesans rose from the stage floor, barefoot in billowing ball gowns with pastoral prints and cowgirl broderie anglaise mixing with acres of tulle skirt. Dolce and Gabbana themselves then emerged from the pit, hand in hand despite their well-publicized breakup, and walked the runway dewey-eyed as the fashion crowd jumped to their feet for a standing ovation. (Jane Barrett, via Reuters)

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