“We call it ‘Sicilian jungle,’” said Stefano Gabbana backstage at Dolce & Gabbana’s spring/summer 2020 men’s collection in Milan, as Domenico Dolce studiously pinned a suit against a backdrop of palm fronds.
That vignette - Dolce, the son of a tailor from Sicily and a proud advocate of the craft - neatly summarised the mission statement from the Italian brand this season, which was to marry their molto bellissimo man with a rustle of Puerto Rican foliage, retro theatrics and safari adventures.
There were nods to Copacabana camp, 40s silhouettes, 80s suiting and, in one instance, a boxy jacket that had historic inspiration but, said Gabbana, became “like something from Spandau Ballet” in its execution. Tropical prints were decorated with 50s silk bowler shirts, with leopards and tigers and parrots - oh my - peering out from the fronds.
There was a rumba through the generations too; high-waisted trousers from the 1940s, pinstriped and sharp, alongside primary bright suits that could have come straight from a Wham! video in the mid-80s, and that decade’s stonewashed denim.
Carmen Miranda’s fruit bowl made its way into prints and lace was employed in boxer robes and shorts. The duo’s strict policy of maximalist more-is-more merrymaking was fully enforced.
But alongside the exuberance were quieter threads of the collection - the pinstripes and airy fawn coats were brief concessions to calm, albeit trimmed with baroque beading in certain instances.
There was a hint of retro nostalgia in the 50s pin up iconography painted on leather and printed on shirts. Likewise in the safari jackets, as if Peter Beard had gone to Studio 54.
But amid the up-tempo pieces, there was enough to inform the more everyday Dolce & Gabbana customer’s summer attire, particularly those pristine safari ensembles and the soft fawn and camel touches.
“We wanted to convey a feeling of lightness, of optimism,” said Gabbana, as a model wearing a jacket with the slogan ‘Good Vibes Only’ slipped by. That sentiment is perhaps unsurprising, after the scandal which the brand became embroiled in last year; the duo took things back to the essence of what built their brand, focusing on exceptional craftsmanship (they employ thousands of artisans to hand make their pieces), and stripping the millennial influencers from their shows and ad campaigns.
And in the mire of modern politics - hell, even after the summer washout - there’s plenty of allure to Dolce & Gabbana’s it’s-always-cocktail-hour-somewhere approach to a man’s wardrobe, where the palms are always swaying and the cha-cha beats playing.
Sign up for the Telegraph Luxury newsletter for your weekly dose of exquisite taste and expert opinion.