In a flagship store like the Old Bond Street Dolce & Gabbana, there’s an embarrassment of riches for a stylist. Not only had they imported a large part of the SS11 runway collection (mainly white, lots of lace) for us to play with, there were at least three separate selling collections going on: an entire monochrome section, a polka dot array, a workwear rail. Not to mention lingerie, sunglasses, handbags, jools and the rest.
There was a lot of consideration by me. So much so that I think my two dressers were starting to panic. They followed me nervously around the store as I stopped, rifled through a rail, started again, reversed, stopped, started etc. etc. for a good thirty minutes before I picked a single thing out. Meanwhile around me, my fellow bloggers were loading up their rails like a supermarket sweep.
I knew if I just started grabbing pieces I’d soon be overwhelmed. As a stylist, I’m using to picking what works for a story, a campaign or a client, always with a theme or feel in mind, one that’s probably percolated around my head for several weeks. To be presented with the entire contents of a store – and just one brand, no overarching story, and a scant two hours to pull together four looks – was a challenge.
In the same way I would never review a runway collection on the basis of whether I would wear it or not, there was never any chance that I would style a window in the manner of a personal shopping trip. What I wanted for my three mannequins and the bodyform was a display that looked like an organic Dolce window (after all, visual merchandising is there to sell), but felt like my taste.
It was important to tie everything together thematically so there wasn’t just a hodge podge in the window, and I began to think that mixing up the fabulous different floral pieces would give continuity. That decision made, I homed in on a structured, collarless off-white floral & lace jacket. It screamed not to be worn with its matching dress but with cuffed pale blue jeans, stilettos and a cream silk & lace cami, all of which I hunted down.
And bingo! That gave me my theme: 80s redux. (Especially once I’d added a ginormous gold chain necklace to the look.) The inspiration was simply the Dolce clothes I loved in the magazines pages pinned to my bedroom wall when I was in my early teens.
Then up on a top shelf I saw a chiffon scarf styled into a genius knotted turban, along with big gold gypsy earrings. I decided that all my mannequins would wear them, along with some f**k off black sunglasses. Oh yes the 80s were back with a vengeance in my window. I was channeling Cindy & Linda & Herb Ritts with attitude, curves and a Dolce & Gabbana wink.
I wanted one white outfit to echo the SS11 runway collection, and when I found some white tailored palazzo pants, I ferreted out a strict white shirt to wear tucked in, belt-less, with my floral theme picked up in her turban.
Given the severity of the look, I decided to call my window theme, “Nurse Ratched in the south of France recovering from plastic surgery “. Ahem.
The bodyform got a floral belted bodysuit and a fitted tan leather bomber jacket, collar turned up, a whopping gold necklace and a neat chain purse swinging from her shoulder.
The final look was the most prim: dark green & brown floral tailored shorts, a knotted waist tan linen shirt, with a green cardi slung over, two chunky gold bracelets on one wrist, and a small handbag chain knotted around the other.
And a turban, bien sur. Gotta love the turbans.