ConflictCon | Tuesday, 10/10/2000 00:00 WIB
Chinoiserie (Chinese motifs) featured in European architecture, interior design, gardening and pottery in the late 17th century. Then, villas were decorated or painted in Chinese style in Germany, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy and Russia.
The Chinese Palace in Palermo, Sicily, is one of the largest and most iconic Chinese-style residences built during the Baroque and Rococo periods.
Frederick I (1751-1825), a ruler of the two Sicilies, bought the property which already had an extravagant house with Chinese influence from local nobles.
Then in 1799, he commissioned the famous architect Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia (1729-1814), to renovate the wooden house.
Marvuglia obliged the king and, in keeping with the exotic trend popular at the time, created a masterful example of Rococo Chinoiserie with traditional Sicilian elements.
When the Italian designer duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were working on their 2016 spring/summer collection, they happened to see some of the old Dolce & Gabbana advertisements featuring the Chinese Palace.
After seeing the photos, they were "inspired to visit Palermo to see the beautiful and unique Chinese Palace", Gabbana tells China Daily.
The visit resulted in men's suits and T-shirts with images of the Chinese Palace, birds and bamboo, and dresses for women inspired by the qipao (cheongsam).
Dolce says: "The palace inspired us to infuse some of the most iconic elements of Chinese architecture into the DNA of Dolce & Gabbana."
The Chinese-style pieces are a part of their 2016 spring/summer collection, which they call "Italy is love".
Each of the dresses depicts an Italian city or resort in postcard style, from Rome to Capri, Taormina, the Amalfi coast, Lake Como and Pisa. The Chinese Palace represents Palermo.
Explaining what led to the designs for the dresses, Gabbana says: "We looked how global travelers enjoy the summer in Italy. For example, the Chinese pieces, which are traditional Chinese clothes with Italian embellishments and jewels, represent Chinese tourists who arrive in Italy and cannot wait to absorb the local mood and culture."
China, though, seems to have become the designer duo's favorite market in recent years.
Though they have never had runway shows in China, they express their love for the country in a different way.
Along with their 2015 summer/spring collection and 2015 autumn/winter collection, the two created a special package featuring special products for Chinese customers.
Along with the 2016 spring/summer collection, they are again offering red dresses for Chinese customers.
Gabbana says: "China is a very important market for us. We have many customers here who believe in Dolce & Gabbana. The reaction to our unique China package products is great."
Since their first visit five years ago, the duo have returned every year. This year, they visited the country twice.
In March, they visited Shanghai to do a book of photographs of Chinese badminton player Lin Dan. While the photographs were taken by Dolce, the book was styled by Gabbana. The book depicts the Olympic champion as an icon of masculinity.
Their recent Beijing visit was "to say thank you", says Gabanna. They attended a dinner at the city's Diaoyutai guesthouse with VIP customers.
"We came to see the boutiques and spend time with customers. We live in Milan. It's far from China. But we want to see our customers, dine at a very simple restaurant, to see what they eat and drink, and see how they live. If you want to know a country, you have to be in the midst of the people. This is the best way to understand the market."
Asked if they will work with Chinese celebrities, they say not at the moment.
"We prefer to talk to ordinary people," says Gabbana, referring to their latest advertising campaign "Mama Collection", in which, men, women and children are dressed in Dolce & Gabbana clothes. The designers say that a model posed with her mother, grandmother and her baby－generations, depicting real family.
"We love the sense of family. It is the universal value we want to highlight. In the Internet era, it is easy to lose your roots and your identity. But when you encounter any problem, you rely on your mama, your family."
Every time they visit China, they walk in the streets, just to see ordinary people.
And echoing what they see, Dolce says: "The younger generation is very fashion conscious. China is a country that strikes a balance between old and new. (kes)