From the heart to the hands

The Dolce & Gabbana exhibition is titled “Dal cuore alle Mani” (“From the Heart to the Hands,”) but it could easily have been called “From Dreams to Reality,” “From Sicily to the World”… and in a thousand other ways that represent the long journey that has led them to the realization of their ideas, their aspirations, their vision.

all images ©Michael Adair

The now four-decade-long career of the most famous Italian designer duo in the world is indeed a hymn to a great dream carried forward with absolute aesthetic and professional consistency. 

This exhibition celebrates the pursuit of a creative line in a determined, stubborn way, stronger than any prejudice or obstacle that has, physiologically, stood in the way from the beginning to global success.

“From the Heart to the Hands” is an engaging exploration of the narrative behind Dolce & Gabbana’s high fashion collections, inviting participation in the artistic process that leads to the realization of their creations, from dream to garment. 

The vast sources of inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana unfold before you as you move from room to room, each space a tribute to an aspect of Italian culture that has informed their work.

As you step into the illustrious Palazzo Reale in Milan, you embark on a fashion journey,a unique exploration of Dolce&Gabbana’s distinctive realms of creativity, tradition, and exquisite craftsmanship. This exhibition tells a story in each of its ten uniquely themed rooms.

A digital Beginnings, outside Palazzo Reale

The exhibition commences even before you enter the Palazzo Reale, with a collection of digital artworks that set the tone. This outdoor gallery features pieces by renowned contemporary artists like Felice Limosani, Obvious Art, and Alberto Maria Colombo, who reinterpret Dolce&Gabbana’s iconic designs, blending digital modernity with traditional fashion elements.


Upon entering, the first room on the Noble Floor, titled “Handmade,” is an ode to the meticulous handcrafting processes of the fashion house.

The room, adorned with pain-tings by Anh Duong and a selection of garments, emphasizes the brand’s commitment to the Grand Tour aesthetic inherent in their Alta Moda collections.

The Art and Craft of Glassworking 

Venture into the mesmerizing world of Venetian glass in the second room.

Here, the sparkle of finely crafted mirrors and chandeliers complements the intricate embroidery and crystal details of the displayed garments, illustrating the fusion of artisanal glass-work with high fashion.

The Leopard 

The third room pays homage to “The Leopard,” a recurrent theme in Dolce&Gabbana’s repertoire, inspired by Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel.

An immersive setting replicates the novel’s famed ballroom scene, creating a direct dialogue with the film’s opulent aesthetics.


In a space dominated by baroque influences and under the emblem of the Sacred Heart, the fourth room, “Devotion,” showcases a collection that alternates between Sicilian black and the opulence of gold, reflecting the religious and cultural fervor of Sicily.

Ateliers, Ornaments, and Volumes 

The heart of the exhibition is the fifth room, offering a live glimpse into the Dolce&Gabbana ateliers. Here, tailors and artisans demonstrate their skills, crafting pieces from conception to completion, every Friday within specific hours, making the art of fashion a visible, dynamic process.

Architectural and Pictorial 

The influence of architecture on Dolce&Gabbana’s designs is explored in the sixth room through a stunning installation that uses video mapping to blend renaissance art with modern fashion pieces, highlighting the architectural inspiration behind their designs.

Sicilian Traditions 

Dive into the rich Sicilian craft traditions in the seventh room, where hand-painted ma-jolica and Sicilian Cart art come to life.

This room not only displays traditional art but also features video documentation of these crafts, providing a deeper understanding of the artistic process.

White Baroque 

Continuing with the theme of Sicilian artistry, the eighth room celebrates Giacomo Serpotta’s Baroque stucco work.

Dresses from the Stucchi Alta Moda Collection merge seamlessly with the Baroque interiors, creating a visual symphony that celebrates historical and contemporary art forms.

Dream of Divinity 

The ninth room, “Dream of Divinity,” is where myth meets fashion. Here, ethereal dresses inspired by Greek deities are displayed alongside Alta Sartoria pieces that in-corporate elegant mosaics reminiscent of Italy’s Byzantine basilicas.


The final room underscores the profound connection between Dolce&Gabbana and the grand world of Opera.

Styled like an Italian theater, this room features designs inspired by the duo’s favorite operas, staged dramatically to capture the essence of theatrical performance.

“From the Heart to the Hands” at Palazzo Reale is not just an exhibition; it is an immersive experience that captures the soul of Dolce&Gabbana through a vivid narrative woven from the threads of fashion, art, and history.

As you exit the Palazzo, you carry with you not just the visual memory of exquisite designs but the resonant stories of craftsmanship and heritage that define the Dolce&Gabbana legacy.

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