Dolce & Gabbana‘s Fall 2021 collection, presented as a filmed runway show without an audience, was not short on flash. It featured lots of lights, screens, reflective surfaces and models rising up from under ground on a mechanized pedestal. The clothing was full of metallic fabrics, a barrage of technicolored pieces and clear PVC. And there were robots onstage, the result of a partnership the Italian brand initiated with Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.
“Fashion has always been the result of the confluence of worlds that can be very far from each other: if technology is truly serving the man, his needs and his passions, then a craftsman and a robot will be able to coexist,” said Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in a release. In a filmed press conference, the designers also shared that the collection was inspired by young people who are drawn towards the design and ethos of the ’90s.
But it was hard to look at the collection — so full of PVC and plastic that one commenter on YouTube remarked “we’re going to have to invest in petroleum, because D&G emptied out the plastics bin” — without thinking that Dolce & Gabbana’s vision seems to be remarkably devoid of a desire to address planetary limits. For there to be a long-term, stable future for the generation Dolce & Gabbana designed this collection for, humanity will need to move away from a dependence on plastic and other petroleum-based products that are reliant on climate change-causing fossil fuels. Designing for that future means more than putting robots on the runway; it means using materials that do less harm as they’re made and don’t turn into non-biodegradable trash at the end of their useful lives.
Perhaps saying this collection was inspired by the ’90s was appropriate: it hearkened back to an age when climate change was known about, but one could more easily get away with not treating it as urgent.
See every look in the Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2021 collection in the gallery below.