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Mosaic as Fashion’s Muse: Dolce & Gabbana Winter 2014 “Tailored Mosaic”

On 25, Feb 2013 | 15 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

The 6th century mosaics of an Italian cathedral exploded onto the runway last week with Dolce&Gabbana’s presentation of their Winter 2014 collection in Milan.

From the Dolce & Gabbana’s Facebook Page:

Tailored Mosaic: Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana were inspired by the mosaic of Monreale for this collection.   As the art of mosaic-making is a slow and precise one, achieved by placing single piece next to the other, at the same time tailoring is made by single stitch after single stitch.

This brief video shows preparation for the show.

Mosaic is simply everywhere, everywhere, everywhere in the collection – prints, shoes, bags, jewelry – it is all just too Byzantine and extraordinary.

From the Dolce & Gabbana Website:

The city of Monreale started to become important around the XI century with the arrival of the Normans in Sicily.  The Cathedral of Monreale, consecrated to Santa Maria Nuova, was built between 1172 and 1185 under the commission of the Norman King William II of Altavilla, together with the archiepiscopal Palace and its beautiful cloister.


In the top half of the walls a series of golden mosaics were created between the end of 1100 and the middle of 1200. Two of these mosaics represent William II crowned by Christ and William II who offers the church to the Virgin. Local artists and experts from Byzantium and Venice were called in to realize those striking works of art.”

Dolce & Gabbana made use of the abilities of artisans of the highest level to create mosaics on shoes, dresses, jewels and bags. As the art of mosaic-making is a slow and precise one, achieved by placing single piece next to the other, at the same time tailoring is made by single stitch after single stitch.


Of course, it wouldn’t be haute couture without a few outre moments, would it?


Details and opulence are truly what this collection is all about.  Theodora herself would have adored these handbags and shoes.

Yes, there are a few kitschy “Roman Tourist” micro mosaic moments in here but – we’d wear these shoes in a nanosecond.

The extraordinary passion, artistry and craftsmanship that went into these garments is no more evident than in these detail photos.


The show’s finale was a tour-de-force in red.

Color, texture, rhythm, reflection, refraction, modularity – a love of the materials at one’s fingertips and the ability to create a never-seen-before whole out of disparate pieces – all of the things that make mosaic special abound in Dolce&Gabbana’s Winter 2014 collection.  These are objects to treasure for the ages – just like their inspiration.

Dolce & Gabbana’s website holds hundreds of images of the collection which you can expand to fill your screen.  And, it’s hard not to play “Where’s Justinian?” while watching this 10+ minute video (with decidedly odd background music) of the whole event.  Enjoy –  Nancie


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  1. Emma Frankish

    Amazing mosaic embellished dress – strange choice of music though! – too fast for such elegant ladies

  2. sandy robertson

    Yesterday, whilst shopping with my future daughter in law Lauren, I found a bedlinen range by Sheridan “Byzantine”….featuring the Empress Theodora on gorgeous silk pillow cases, subtle purple shadings etc and I am doing up our bedroom, mosaic style.
    Bring on a new mosaic chair, opulent fringing and mirrors etc.

    I think mosaic artists can do their own thing as well as the fashion designers but it’s so stunning to see the fashion show and beautiful garments. I have a mosaic denim jacket in mosaic style from years ago.

    I would love to have been at the fashion show live, to absorb the atmosphere and the mosaic garments. Love the article, thank you!

  3. DARJA

    It is prfect,,,,,,,,,,,

  4. Pamela

    Though I love mosaics anything (almost anything) and am definitely not religious, I am not comfortable with the use of these images on clothing. Yes the fabrics are beautiful and the byzantine motifs make for gorgeous dresses but the use of religious faces may be judged as disrespectful for those who revere them.

    • Ellie Carrano

      Thank you for this comment! I am Roman Catholic and know that many of my Eastern rite and Orthodox brothers and sisters see icons as having a religious significance beyond their artistic value. Just as it hurts me to see rosaries used thoughtlessly as jewelry, I’m sure many Eastern Christians would find the use of icon motifs on high fashion clothing insensitive. While I don’t think the use of these motifs on clothing is inherently wrong, I believe that those who are using them outside of a spiritual context and without any understanding of their significance are being extremely disrespectful. It is refreshing to see someone who is professedly non-religious being sensitive to these issues – again, thanks for the comment.

  5. Laura Paull

    I think we should all put our pennies together and get one of these Byzantine robes for Lillian Broca; she deserves one.

  6. Karen Thompson

    Beautiful post, Nancie. Now desirous….. Thank You!

    • Nancie

      They are definitely objects to be desired, Karen. Glad you enjoyed!

  7. sandhi schimmel gold

    I wish I could wear one of these to one of my openings!

  8. isabel balza

    Que insólita moda. Tengo las imágenes escaneadas de estos mosaicos de la iglesia en Monreale
    porque es uno de los ejemplos mejor conservados de mosaicos religiosos con influencia
    bizantina. Que increíble trabajo! Alguien usará estos modelos? o será sólo para la pasarela?

  9. Rebecca Collins

    Wow, many of these would look lovely on grown up women with curves. If only I had the budget for one. I shared a link today on the art dog blog. It seemed to go well with Nick Cave somehow.

    • Nancie

      Thank you for the share, Rebecca! D&G and Cave are both joyous sensory overloads, don’t you think?

  10. Lillian Sizemore

    LOVE this post Nancie thanks for the great detail photos. Pure Italian. I love the mash-up of Papal robes, Mosaic history and 1950s Sophia Loren. The mens collection was a showstopper as well. thanks!

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