9 Fashion Tips To Help Define Your Trans-seasonal Style

How to fashion yourself now…

Jenna Lyons

For most, September is the hardest month to dress oneself. Of course this makes sense – it’s the time of uncertainty for dandies and fashion concerned clothes wearers. We have been so busy honing and compiling our summer wardrobes, taking to Pinterest and Tumblr for street style inspiration and then shopping accordingly, that we haven’t even given much thought to the 2014-15 autumn/winter catwalk shows that we watched back in February.

I personally feel like, just as I truly got into the swing of my fashioned summer self – lots of shorts, printed trousers, Birkenstocks, camisole tops and a general laid back Celine inspired approach – were the shops displaying winter garb too warm to wear and the magazines discussing new coat trends far too early to invest in.

Yet, in London, August just gone, it was far too chilly to be sporting shorts and camisole tops, however, not quite the season for tights and boots. And, here we are in September, the appearance of the sun is slightly unreliable, but there is a much warmer temperature than the previous month. Indeed, we have reached the time in the year when our summer wardrobes need to be adapted slightly to contend with the colder mornings and evenings and days that may not be as bright as they were in the height of summer.

It is the transitional seasons that I find to be the most intriguing in terms of fashion, particularly the summer to autumn as opposed to winter to spring. The glossies are fatter and more overwhelming than ever. The spectrum of styles and trends worn by street style icons varies more vastly than ever and the commuters that I see every day in London are a mash up of ankle boots worn with dresses, cut off shorts with kimonos, to coats with sandals.

The transitional seasons can bring about uncertainty because the season hasn’t actually managed to synch itself with the edits in the fashion magazines – there is no definitive fashion rhetoric stating that this is what should be worn NOW. The silver lining of this very short lived moment in fashion is, it is our time to shine – to wear whatever we want, to interpret the trends that we loved of the summer just gone and piece them together with the purchases we have made for the coming winter season.

My approach to defining my look and streamlining my wardrobe for this ‘in-between’ time is almost like creating a capsule collection of garments that include pieces from my summer wardrobe, pieces from my winter wardrobe and a few pieces that I have purchased specifically to hack these trans-seasonal dilemmas. I think the challenge is to feel as though you are dressed appropriately as well as fashionably and so far, these nine tips have been my solution…

1.Wear your mum jeans till you can’t wear them any more…

street style fashion spring 15 shows

When in doubt, don’t we all just opt for jeans? I know it’s not very creative, but this is the perfect time to really value mum, boyfriend and tapered jeans. I only wear these more relaxed fit jeans at an ankle grazing length and with heeled sandals, stilettos and shoes that tend to expose the foot as opposed to cover it. The combination of the shoe and a bit ankle on display helps to keep these relaxed fit jeans a little more sexy. I generally don’t enjoy wearing jeans in the height of summer and feel that these particular cut jeans are far too casual for my winter wardrobe, so the transitional seasons are perfect for ankle grazing jeans with stilettos. So I am wearing these mothers as much as I can right now!

2. Wear ripped jeans till the winter fairytale calms the distress…

ripped jeans street style fashion

The distressed jean is back – a little more refined than it was in the early noughties and maybe not as long lasting as it was in its last fashion reign. The 2014/15 winter trends are dreamy, sleek and refined, think shift dresses and long boots at Gucci, cinched waists and pencil skirts at Balmain and the Sicilian fairy tale at Dolce and Gabanna. It seems pretty that ripped jeans won’t be cutting it for much longer.

3. Don’t Cover Up to Soon…Hold off wearing tights and boots 

Leather culottes

My mother once told me, “Stay away from tights till October and boots till November.” I don’t always take her fashion rules on board, but adopting my respect for fashion and dress from her, I do like to consider them. Ankle boots, of course I will wear with a skirt or a dress throughout summer and autumn months, but I will not wear them with jeans and most certainly won’t wear my boots with tights – that’s far too much protection and coverage too soon. If it’s raining so heavily that a court shoe or a sandal is out of the question, I opt for brogues, driving shoes or slip on sneakers and if I can’t get away with wearing a skirt or dress without tights, then I simply go for a smart trouser.  I think a  wardrobe should change and transform as the seasons do. If we  start wearing tights in September, the likelihood is we’ll be wearing them till March next year and where’s the fun in that? With the midi skirt back in fruition this winter, who needs tights anyway?

4. Throw some black trousers into the mix…

Black trousers street style

If you’re opting for a little more elegance than jeans can offer, but are also avoiding tights, like myself, how do you stay warm and tasteful? Tailored trousers! Like jeans, a pair of simple black trousers are trans-seasonal, but they have a slightly more mature edge on jeans. They look sexy and sleek paired with stilettos and smart and androgynous worn with loafers and brogues.

5. Smarten up your maxis….

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You can call them maxi skirts and dresses I suppose – but something about the word maxi reminds me of summer and floatiness. Full length skirts and dresses paired with a chambray or denim shirt or a simple round neck jumper lengthens the longevity of a garment mostly associated with the sun. Biker jackets naturally toughen up this typically feminine garment. Wear these full length skirts and dresses with heeled strappy sandals, peep toe heeled shoes and even boots – Olivia Palermo has nailed this look to a T!

6. Replace your camisole vests with tops that cover your decolletage…

Miroslava Duma

As versatile as those camisole tops were for the summer, it’s time to phase them out. You’ll find yourself needing a jacket or a cardigan to cover up wearing these thin and strappy tops – which can be unnecessary fuss, unless of course, your cover up is adding something aesthetically to the style of your ensemble. Never underestimate the good of a great t-shirt to tuck into jeans, culottes, midi skirts or a pair of tailored trousers. And if you’re looking for something a little more pulled together, opt for shell tops, sleeveless or short sleeved. These tops and tees won’t expose too much of your décolletage, therefore you can wear them without a jacket or scarf during the early months of autumn, but still have your arms on show whilst trying to hold on to summer.

7. Don’t be all buttoned up just yet – opt for a casual shirt…

Miranda Kerr in double denim

On the days when it is slightly cooler, maybe too cool for a short sleeve, I opt for a casual shirt. My first choice is denim, but chambray and oxford and even my fiance’s shirts will make the cut. I pair these shirts with skinny jeans and a strappy heeled sandal or stiletto. I know in the midst of the winter I will head to Zara and purchase myself a shed load of smart, sharp and will-dress-up-any-ensemble- Celine-esque shirts and blouses and I will wear them right through till March. However, in the warmer months I like to keep things a little more relaxed than my winter wardrobe.

8. Show off your waistcoats This is a waistcoat’s prime time…

Olivia Palermo Waistcoat

This is a waistcoat’s prime time! In the colder winter months I will wear a waistcoat over my shirt and beneath my coat, which is great for those that see me indoors and coat-less, but not so much when I am running about outside in the cold. If you want to give your waistcoat, which is a seriously cool garment, some serious airtime, now is the time to do it. For me, it is still too warm to wear a leather jacket and I feel too stuffy in a blazer. I am still flitting around London in short sleeve tops and tees without any outerwear at all. But if I want to add a little something to an ensemble, I pull out my waistcoat and throw it over over a shift dress or a shirt and jeans ensemble. Never have I worn it so much!

9. Say goodbye to flippy sandals…

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Stop wearing your strappy flat delicate sandals and opt for a heeled sandal, a heavier and chunkier sandal or Birkenstocks. Strappy sandals are just a little too easy breezy for this transitional autumn period and boots are too wintery, so now is the time for peep toe boots, ankle sandals and shoes in colours or material you fear to wear in the winter. I say wear your Birckemstocks now and keep wearing them till you go off them – if you haven’t already. I think I have already gone off mine!

 Be charmed, stay inspired!

The One – Oscar Winner Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey most certainly is the One (‘…and only true gentlemen’- in the words of Dolce and Gabbana) this year. With his incredible performance in Jean Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers club, an incredible award season has followed and rightly so. Having already won the Golden Globe’s Best Actor, the SAG and Critic’s Choice Award for his portrayal of character Ron Woodroof, the sexy southern actor is now the proud owner of that ultimate gold statue.

Last night Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role, in a very tough category, up against the likes of Wolf of Wall Street’s Leonardo di Caprio, American Hustle’s Christian Bale, 12 Year’s a Slave’s Chiwetol Eljifior and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern. And of course, the Dolce and Gabbana gentlemen accepted his Oscar dressed head to toe in Dolce and Gabbana, from the New Bond Street Dolce and Gabbana boutique concept store in London. This was McConaughey’s first Oscar nomination and his first win, but no doubt this is the start of many more to come.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Matthew McConaughey and have a commitment to watching the films he features in, like I have to watching the films starring Robert DeNiro and Denzel Washington. Of course McConaughey doesn’t quite have the universal status that DeNiro or Denzel has – yet. But there is something about him that does it for me, that has drawn me in and kept me watching his films over and over again, even when the themes haven’t been that deep – possibly the exact same something that does it for Dolce and Gabbana.

I first fell for the Texas born actor in A Time to Kill, a film I watched everyday for six weeks during my summer holidays many a years ago. Of course this was a very serious film and McConaughey played the fair and just lawyer, Jake Bragance. It could have been the moral and ethics of the character McConaughey played that made me develop a weak spot for him, but I think his perfect body, his sexy southern drawl and his spectacular looks at least had a little something to do with it.

Then I went on to enjoy him in romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner alongside Jennifer Lopez,  How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days alongside Jennifer Hudson, Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker and Fool’s Gold with Jennifer Hudson again. I even loved watching him in Surfer Dude, him being shirtless for ninety minutes will definitely have everything to do with that.

In recent years I have been taken away by his performance – and that accent again, in films outside of the Rom Com genre, especially the super sexy Magic Mike, the sad and touching Mud, the strange and slightly disturbing Killer Joe (that chicken scene),  his brilliance in the Wolf of Wall Street as Mark Hanna and now, last but by no means least, in his immense award winning performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

When I began this article Matthew McConaughey had 50, 600 social mentions, according to the Oscars Social Mentions counter – at the time of completion, he now has 64,964 and it’s rising by the second. I just had to be one of the thousands talking about Matthew McConaughey online today. So, to Matthew McConaughey, I salute you and am so looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill
Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill
Matthew McConaughey Surfer Dude
Matthew McConaughey Surfer Dude
Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe
Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe

Joining the Club: Matthew and his co-star looked delighted after scooping the prestigious paperweights

Touching moment: Perennial loser Leonardo DiCaprio embraced his rival following his win

Matthew McConaughey with wife and mother at Oscars 2014
Matthew McConaughey with wife and mother at Oscars 2014

Backstage romance: The affection was obvious as he met with his other half after collecting his award

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

London Collections Men’s: 2014 – 15 in Pictures

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London
Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street Store – London Collections – Bella Italia

Frequent Charms of a Dandizette readers will be shocked to see that I am covering the London Collections Men’s fashion week – as I have never thus far. Admittedly this can be an event that can pretty much go unnoticed for me, but as my partner kicked off the week at the Dolce and Gabbana London Collections event on Sunday night and gave me a firsthand run down of the events that took place the following day, how could I couldn’t not cover it? So here are my favourite looks of the people at the parties and on the FROW’s of the London Collections 2014-15, needless to say there’s a fair few of Mr David Gandy. But I’d like to take my hat off to Wretch 32. What a dandy he looks in that heritage check suit ensemble, with the floral shirt collar and those oxblood shoes – Perfection!

Tine Tempah and David Gandy - London Collections
At the launch of the London Collections event looking very similar in geek chic glasses, the jacket and the low cut white tee.
Tinie Tempah and Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Messenet at the Tommy Hilfiger and Jonathan Newhouse dinner, Emin Room at Restaurant 34
David Gandy and Tommy Hilfiger
Tinie Tempah

Louis Smith at the Men Esquire party, which was hosted at the Rosewood London
Wretch 32 at the Men Esquire party at the Rosewood London
Kylie Minogue and David Gandy guests of honour at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street store London Collections event

Kylie Minogue and David Gandy at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street London Collections event
Marvin Humes at Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street London Collections
Alistair Guy and Jack Guinness
Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London
Thom Morrel

Naturally, there were some bloggers there too…

Fashion and beauty blogger Tanya Burr

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London
Of course Miss Susie Bubble

A closer look at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street store’s setting…La Bella Ita

Dolce&Gabbana party for London Fashion Week 2014 with Kylie Minogue, Roberto Bolle and David Gandy - Italian monuments
Dolce&Gabbana party for London Fashion Week 2014 with Kylie Minogue, Roberto Bolle and David Gandy – Italian monuments
Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London
Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Sicily, Dolce and Gabbana and Papini

Sicily, Dolce and Gabbana and Papini

The 2013 Winter Visit to Catania, Sicilia

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If there’s one thing I know fashion lovers absolutely adore, as well as everyone else, it’s the opportunity to travel. So I am going to deviate from my usual fashion writing to share with you some memorable moments from my recent trip to Sicily. Needless to say, my four days in Sicily was not completely void of fashion and fabulousness – how can it be when in Italy?

My partner and I went back to Sicily last week to celebrate his birthday with his family and friends – frequent readers of Charms of a Dandizette will know that my partner is Sicilian and I have been travelling to and from Catania, Sicily for the past eight years. No matter where in the world I travel, no matter how inspired and rejuvenated I feel on my escape and on my return, there is something very special about the way I feel when I am in and have returned from the wonderful island that is Sicily. Admittedly my affection for Sicily may well be because of my emotional ties with the island and the great family and friends I have gained through my partner, but no matter how many times I return to Sicily, it never fails to fascinate me.

We flew to Sicily the morning that the Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street Menswear store had their Sicilian Christmas table installed on the shop floor. My partner, being Sicilian and working for Dolce and Gabbana, as you can imagine, was extremely excited about all the typical Sicilian sweet treats featured on the table – it was indeed the perfect little send off for our Sicilian pursuit. On our arrival we unpacked the Christmas gifts we had bought for his family and instead of wrapping in nondescript wrapping paper, we placed the presents in Dolce and Gabbana paper bags – which his family absolutely adored – not because they are Dolce and Gabbana, but because these bags are pieces of art work in themselves (I myself have started my own little collection). These bags feature elements of typical Sicilian culture and folklore, some of which you will recognise from the collections, such as the Sicilian puppets, the Sicilian ceramics, the Moorish head and the Sicilian cart. For admirers of Dolce and Gabbana these bags are a perfect representation of the collection, however for my partner and his family, these bags are a small token of Sicilian heritage.

Once we had embellished the Christmas tree with our Dolce and Gabbana bags we sat down to eat. Needless to say we ate and drank extremely well, in fact we did so for five hours! With course after course of Bruschetta, Artichokes and grilled courgettes and aubergine, a fennel, orange and pomegranate pallet cleansing salad followed by swordfish and pistachio involtini, savoury pastries filled with ricotta and sundried tomato pesto and so on so forth, all washed down with Nero D’avola and followed by a selection of Limoncello and cream liquers and Prossecco. Yum!

Aside from drinking, eating and socialising, there was also some shopping and an acquaintance with my partner’s cousin Chicco – an acquaintance I have been particularly keen to make the eight years I have been with my partner. Chicco is one of the owners of Papini, the Eastern region of Sicily’s go to fashion department store for the luxury shopper.  In Catania there are two Papini stores, both located on Corsa Italia, the ultimate fashion and luxury shopping strip – think Sloane or Bond Street. One store is dedicated to Men’s and Womenswear and the other dedicates itself entirely to shoes, handbags and accessories. The third Papini store is located on the small island of Ortigia, the historical centre of Siracusa, Sicily, the very same location of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 2007 film Malena, starring Monica Belluci. My partner tells me Chicco has a particular talent for picking up on designers and trends before they have blown up. Among many other operations for Papini, Chicco does the buying for the business, he attends fashion week, he circulates in the industry and builds and maintains relationships with the suppliers.

Although having been to Papini many a times, this time I meet Chicco. He asks me what’s hot in London right now. We talk about the Celine Phantom bag and the just as coveted sling back Valentino stiletto, all of which is stocked at Papini. I admire the array of Givenchy printed sweatshirts, the myriad of leather and fur from Gucci, hand woven classic Bottega Veneta bags and the Saint Laurent punk boots. And after deliberating between the Alexander Wang Rocco bag and the Givenchy Nightingale bag for my own purchase, I leave with the Rocco bag. As if I could avoid all of that gleaming gold hardware. 

Please enjoy my Sicilian break in pictures…

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The Sicilian Christmas table at Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street store
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The Christmas tree in Sicily
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The Dolce and Gabbana bag collection

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The Arrancini Dolce and Gabbana bag
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Aubergines, courgettes and artichokes
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Bruschetta and ricotta cheese
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pastry filled with cheese and pesto
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a fennel, orange and pomegranate salad, swordfish involtini, prawns, stuffed squid
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Chocolate birthday cake
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Apperitivo at Spinella, wearing Tom Ford sunglasses, Zara leather and lace insert top

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Prossecco, pizzetta and arrancini at Spinella
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The rose gold Rocco bag by Alexander Wang from Papini Catania

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Apperitivo with Chicco and Giorgia at Bonu, wearing Biba earrings, necklace from Primark, coat and top from Zara, bracelet from Marc by Marc Jacobs, leather trousers from Topshop, bag from Marc Jacobs

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Marella Ferrera – Sicilian Treasure

Marella Ferrera is possibly one of Sicily’s most influential and inspirational fashion designers still living and working in Sicily. Sicily always at the heart of her artistic endeavours, Marella Ferrera has provided the island not only with its very own claim to high fashion, but possibly one of the most imaginative and intelligent fashion designers to date.

Sicilian fashion designer Marella FerreraMarella Ferrera is an acclaimed Haute Couturier and Prêt a Porter designer who began her career in 1974 after attending the Accademia di Costume e di Moda (Academy of Costume and Fashion, Rome). She has won numerous awards across Europe that have crowned her ‘Best Couturier’ and given her recognition globally. The precious works of Marella Ferrera are not only the proud possessions of Sicilian art and fashion, but are the treasures of Sicilian culture, history and geography.

It is in the creations of Marella Ferrera that one can truly begin to decipher the distinction of Sicilian fashion from Italian, ‘true Sicilian style is not related to the clichés of “mafia, coppola (1) and lupara (2)”, but it is the unique and elegant melange of tradition, heritage; all the conquerors that signed the identity of this land,’ she explains. Using materials that are rustic, raw materials that are geologically Sicilian and materials that may not necessarily be associated with fashion design at all gives Marella her distinctiveness. A Marella Ferrera creation not only acts as an emblem of Sicilian fashion and art, but gives her designs an unmatched exceptionality. The core of a Marella Ferrera design, beyond its sicilianita’ is her desire to create, ‘garments unlike anything you would normally see,’ she says.

A Marella Ferrera dress might be embroidered with terracotta or embellished with thin clay flowers. She incorporates lava rock, rock crystal, copper wire, papyrus, textile paper, cork and palm roots, to name just a few, into her designs. ‘For my professional fulfilment I have always trusted in the potential of my birth land. I have never cut the cord that ties me to Sicily, Sicily is my creative limb.’
Italian Sicilian Catanese Fashion designerThe bodice of a Marella Ferrera dress can take up to one month to be created, she describes the process of making a terracotta dress, ‘it must be painted, then it is broken, pierced with holes, and crocheted together like a piece of embroidery.’ The final result is a dress that one might assume to be heavy or stiff due to the materials used to create it. Surprisingly a terracotta dress weighs only a hundred grams. Using science and geography to create pieces without a mind that continuously seeks knowledge and takes on experimentation might seem impossible, but Marella persists to take on challenges to make new discoveries and push physical boundaries. The advances in technology are paramount to her designs, as this provides her with the tools that allow her to reinvent and present the innate materials of Sicily in original ways.

Her creations have a sensitivity about them that evokes her spirit and her sentiment. Her work is poetic and picturesque, whilst remaining romantic and sensual. Marella’s designs can transform any woman in to a goddess, so much so she designed the wedding gown of Princess Elvira Grimaldi di Nixima, the cousin of Princess Carolina of Monaco and frequently sells her creations to Arab princesses. Her designs are favoured as wedding dresses and ceremonial events. A Marella Ferrera dress is for the occasion that is to be memorable, worn by women who want their garments to have significance and discourse.

It is clear to see that she is a couturier at heart. Placing a Marella Ferrera design in the middle of a room transcends its purpose, from protection and functionality to a piece of art ornamenting a space – a memento of her dreams, her childhood, her travels and her origin. She creates designs with such intricacy and attention to detail that she is any fashion technicians dream. Her fashion design and creative process is just as intriguing and inventive as that of the wondrous Karl Lagerfeld or the talented and late Alexander McQueen. One might indeed find a likeness comparing the work of Marella Ferrera to an artist or a sculptor and this is what makes both her and her work so unique and enchanting. Marella’s designs are a castle in the air, a wonderland or a fairy tale that have been miraculously brought to reality. The utilisation of outstanding technique and an approach to fashion design that is out of this world creates designs that are literally like no other, thus far. Marella Ferrera truly is a Sicilian treasure.

Visit Marrella Ferrera’s multi-functional Museum come Artelier in Sicily Catania. Read more about Sicily in Platform Magazine.

Sicilian cap
1) Sicilian Coppola Cap2) Lupara, sawn down shot gun

 

Dolce and Gabbana Catwalk Report: Sicilianita’

It is impossible to speak with the Sicilian artist about their work without them slip into a profound nostalgia of their land and its spirit in their creations. Their devotion is thrilling, poignant and undeniably powerful, all the core ingredients that created Dolce and Gabbana’s collection this season.

The two Italians managed to communicate an affectionate homage to Sicily and the fashion house’s core essence by creating classic Dolce and Gabbana; perfect tailoring and seductive femininity. The show was entitled ‘Sicilianita’, translating Sicilian-ness, the quintessence of Sicily.

Amidst the minimal chic humdrum, it had seemed that the woman had been robbed of her real meaning. Thankfully, Dolce and Gabbana served up a beautiful myriad of dresses, made from Sicilian lace, velvet and satin that brought sexy back. The dresses were breathtaking to the eye, made from materials that were sumptuous to the touch.  Knee length fitted leopard print and polka dotted dresses, form fitting and to the knee were extraordinary.  Underwear as outerwear appeared in an array of sensuous 1950’s inspired body suits. Bustiers and French knickers peaked out beneath tailored jackets and caramel coloured corsets were decorated with contrasting black lace. The theme here was not minimal, but intense and dreamy, just as rich and alluring as Italian ice cream.

There was a constant dance between logic and emotion, romance and reality. Whether the Dolce and Gabbana woman wore the classic tailored short suit, or played on the under wear as outer wear, in feminine lace and sheer materials, there was a sense of the strong Sicilian woman in every ensemble.

The Italian Sicilian duo redefined and distinguished, with total clarity all that is exquisite about the continent, the island and the woman. It was an assemblage that set apart the Dolce and Gabbana woman from any other woman this season and presented her with what it truly means to be a woman’s woman; sexy, sensuous, classy and elegant.

The collection kept its strength, it remained Sicilian, it remained classic and extremely ‘sexy woman.’ If there was ever a moment for the Sicilian to be proud, now would be as good as any.

With Miss Campbell taking respite from her diamond debacle on the island, Sicily is only seconds away from becoming the next destination a la moda.