Dolce&Gabbana's aristocratic winter fashion

DANIELA PETROFF AP Fashion Writer Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Black velvet, black lace, black chiffon and more gold than even Midas could muster are the basic ingredients of the dramatic Dolce&Gabbana winter collection.

Dramatic, as well as theatric. Ten maxi chandeliers dripping with silk roses hung above the runway, while in the background an oversized gilded mirror doubled the splendor of the outfits during Sunday's show on the fifth day of Fashion Week for winter 2013.

Front row guest, British actress Helen Mirren, on her way to pay her compliments to the designing duo backstage, described the clothes as both "decadent and opulent" and said she loved "every bit" of the show.

However, the actress best known for her role as Queen Elizabeth II, in "The Queen" which earned her an Oscar as best actress in 2007 did not dip into her theater closet for reference, but rather said the show "spoke to my Russian roots." Mirren's father was a Russian nobelman.

For another front-row guest, Italian actress Monica Bellucci, the show was "molto Siciliano," a reference to the Dolce&Gabbana fashion vision. This round inspiration could easily come from the 1963 film "The Leopard," about the decline of Sicilian nobility at the end of the 19th century, and the famous ballroom dance of Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster.

Either way, there was definitely an aristocratic feel to the collection, from the dainty gilded head dressings that framed the models demure hairdos, to the dainty little buttoned booties that adorned their feet.

Styles ranged from coats to capes, from long sheaths to ballooned shorts, from pleated skirts to ruffled tops. But no matter the cut -- gold, beaded, sequined, embroidered, or simply worn as jewelry made the difference.

To lighten the look the designing duo interspersed white or pretty Victorian floral patterns into the basic black palette.

The grand finale was an infinite parade of black and gold made up of more than 100 models wearing all possible versions of the new look, accompanied by a soundtrack of old Neapolitan favorites.