One of the biggest trends this fashion month seems to be quite a surprising one, literally. Designers, perhaps running out of original venue spaces, perhaps simply looking to spice up what can become a monotonous slew of city after city and runway after runway, have taken to the element of surprise for their Spring/Summer 2018 shows. First, it was Alexander Wang’s guerrilla-style runway in the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn during New York Fashion Week, and now, a mere 14 hours before the official show, Dolce & Gabbana offered their own interpretation of the concept. 
Saturday night’s millennial-ridden runway took place just days after the brand’s other “surprise show,” which was staged in the famous Rinascente Department Store (Milan’s version of Bergdorf’s). The rogue show featured some of Instagram’s most beloved millennial models, including Cameron Dallas, Taylor Hill’s younger sister McKinley, Christian Combs (of the “P. Diddy” variety), and Keith Richard’s granddaughter Ella. D&G’s continued efforts to bring their signature Italian style to the younger generations, the millennial surprise show garnered significant attention on social media and cast a great deal of anticipation for Sunday afternoon’s official show.

Sunday’s collection, a bit more grown up than Saturday’s playful show, was aptly called “The Queen of Hearts,” featuring a backdrop of giant playing cards and loosely based on a series of Italian beach towns and resorts, like those in Portofino and along the Amalfi Coast. The collection, a perfect summery take on Dolce & Gabbana’s immense heritage—the duo has, after all, been designing since 1985—was introduced with thirteen black corset outfits, the sort that Linda Evangelista and Madonna donned a couple of decades ago. An army of young models came strutting down the runway in various versions of the brand’s famous corset—some with matching, high-waisted underwear and others incorporated into a full-on slip but all made by the same Italian factory that Stefano and Domenico have always worked with. When asked why the designers haven’t featured the signature corset bodice in all of their recent collections, as they often did in the 1980s and 90s, Gabbana joked, “It’s expensive, and we can’t always show it, it would be boring.” It seemed the fashion house chose the perfect time to revive the look once synonymous with its name, though, as the supermodels, archival prints, and body-con aesthetics of the 90s become more and more in-vogue in today’s fashion world.

Soon followed dresses, pantsuits, and accessories of the typical Dolce & Gabbana variety that captured that magical mixture of Italian femininity, fashionable fun, and cutting-edge sexiness. The 106 looks stayed steadfast and true to the brand’s famous silhouettes and designs, chalk-full of the Sicilian widow-dresses, lavishly beaded jackets and gowns, bold majolica prints, and ornately-decorated chiffon sundresses that have for years graced D&G’s runways. In a stroke of change, however, the collection seemed to embrace a few new emerging trends, such as bold, graphic prints that were worn head-to-toe and plenty of vegetable prints, including a “Princess in a Pea Dress.” Some looks, like crystal-mesh, glitter dresses and leggings, sequin-encrusted jackets, and spandex leggings, pushed the proverbial envelope, but all in all, Sunday’s Dolce & Gabbana show proved that the brand has every reason to be proud of its illustrious heritage and history and has no need to change its ways any time soon.

On another note, those anxiously waiting to see what the theme of May’s Met Gala and summer exhibition will be might have noticed the museum’s Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton, sitting front row at the D&G show. He was sitting next to none other than Anna Wintour, whose presence only graced a select number of shows at this year’s Milan Fashion Week. The collection’s many retrospective ensembles and the opening tableau that featured mannequin-like models, in addition to the favorable seating of the Met’s Costume Institute duo, all suggest that Stefano and Domenico might soon be the focus of the industry’s most coveted exhibition. After all, the next Met show is said to be centered around religion, and what fashion girl wouldn’t want to pray to the almighty gods of Dolce & Gabbana?