Fashion and paper

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Pozzoli has created the Dolce & Gabbana Devotion Paper Bag, a unique “gift pack” for D&G cosmetics and perfumes. A project that is now making its way around the world, thanks to the launching pad of the exhibition in the Avant-Garde area within Packaging Première & PCD Milan 2024. Let us venture into this fascinating world of fashion that finds an ally in paper, for guaranteed success.

This is certainly not the first time that paper has come through the front door of notoriety and made a name for itself in seemingly distant circles, such as those associated with high fashion and fashion. We have already been informed by the creations of great creatives such as Caterina Crepax or Isabelle de Borchgrave who make beautiful paper dresses all over the world.

However, in this case, the paper/high fashion binomial links to a brand that belongs by definition to the fashion and luxury sector. We are talking about Dolce & Gabbana, founded in 1984 by founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who have always been the creative source and prime movers of the brand’s development strategies. An expression of Italianness, the Group creates, produces and distributes clothing, accessories, fragrances and cosmetics, watches and jewellery, and is present in the Lifestyle, furnishing and unique haute couture segments.

The idea then of recreating, using only paper and cardboard, a bag – the iconic Devotion Bag – was a major challenge, which Pozzoli took up very well, with the aim of creating a unique ‘gift pack’ for D&G cosmetics and perfumes.

Devotion Bag: more than just an accessory

So let’s see what object has been spotted to be transformed into the paper version. It is called the Devotion Bag and is a refined collection in Dolce & Gabbana’s catalogue: more than a simple accessory, it is an object of desire, a true masterpiece of craftsmanship. The Devotion Bag embodies the essence of elegance, with impeccable craftsmanship details and an eye-catching design. Each bag is made with passion and dedication, reflecting traditional Italian craftsmanship and representing a timeless style icon.

The printed version

Having an unconventional shape, the reinterpretation of the pack in paper form was the key to the challenge, along with the very high level of quality and extreme attention to every detail required. And we can imagine how the Pozzoli R&D team worked hand in hand with the customer, producing various design proposals.

The end result is a completely handmade packaging, which excites at first glance and surprises for the perfection of its execution, in which the precious lining paper, created ad hoc by James Cropper, has been embellished with a gold hot stamping faithful to the classic Dolce&Gabbana bag from which it takes its inspiration. Not forgetting the application, again by hand, of the metal “Sacred Heart”, the universal symbol of love, a distinctive feature of the line.

The interview

Curious to know more about this collaboration experience, we interviewed the Pozzoli company that often works with customers of this target group. Founded in 1968 in Inzago, on the outskirts of Milan (Italy), Pozzoli has distinguished itself for the creativity, beauty and quality of its products, establishing itself over the years as one of the best Made in Italy packaging companies. From the world of Entertainment, in which the company was born, to the refined universe of Cosmetics & Perfumery, from the elegance of the Fashion & Accessories sector, to Wine & Spirits and Food: for 56 years Pozzoli has professionally and passionately dressed the products of its customers all over Europe, configuring itself as the ideal partner in terms of customised and high-profile packaging.

Can you tell us how the idea of a paper bag came about?

“The challenge set by Dolce & Gabbana to Pozzoli was to recreate, using only paper and cardboard, the iconic Devotion Bag, to create a unique ‘gift pack’ for D&G cosmetics and perfumes.

The end result is packaging that excites at first glance and surprises with its perfect execution.

Why did you choose ‘Devotion’ among the various models?

“The choice on the part of the brand is linked to the desire to create a pack for the new beauty products in the Devotion line.

What kind of paper did you use?

“The precious paper used for the coating is unique, specially developed by James Cropper for the Dolce & Gabbana brand.

What techniques did you use?

“The Devotion Papaer Bag is an excellent example of the industrial craftsmanship that characterises Pozzoli and, in particular, Pozzoli Couture, which made it. The production process has, in fact, well combined automation and manual skill: semi-finished products made by machine were assembled by hand, just as completely handmade was the lining part. Not forgetting the application, again by hand, of the metal ‘Sacred Heart’, the universal symbol of love, a distinctive feature of the Devotion line. To embellish the product, a gold hot stamping faithful to the classic Dolce&Gabbana bag from which it takes its inspiration”.

What kind of difficulties did you encounter and how did you solve them?

“As already mentioned, we focused on the unconventional shape of the pack, the very high quality level and the extreme attention to every detail required. One of the most challenging details was the handle, made entirely of cardboard, perfectly combining strength and elegance’.

How long does it take to make a paper bag like this?

“Rather than quantifying the timing of material execution, we would emphasise the design and engineering phases of the product, which required significant in-house work by our R&D team in close collaboration with the customer.

Which other actors besides you were involved? Who are they and what have they done?

“The players involved, apart from the Pozzoli team, are the Marketing team, the Development Office and the Dolce & Gabbana designers.

Have you produced other articles of this kind in the past?

“No, the Devotion Paper Bag was an absolute novelty for us – and for the market. A novelty that inspired other players to realise similar projects’.

On your participation in Packaging Première: how did you set up the exhibition setting, how did it go in general?

“The Devotion Paper Bag found a double location at the Packaging Première in Milan: a glass case at the entrance to the fair, in the striking area dedicated to the Avant-Garde project; and right in the middle of our stand display, as the focal point of our offer. In both cases, the Devotion Paper Bag certainly did not go unnoticed’.

At the Avant-Garde awards ceremony: who was on the jury?

“University lecturers, designers and industry experts: this is the jury of the Avant-Garde 2024 project that selected the Devotion Paper Bag in the design category”.

From Heart to Hands

And for those who are intrigued and want to dive into a journey as refined as it is breathtaking, until 31 July at the Palazzo Reale in Milan (Italy) there will be a world premiere of the exhibition ‘Dal Cuore alle Mani: Dolce & Gabbana’, dedicated to the unmistakable creations of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana: the first stage of an international itinerary that will include some of the most important cultural centres in the world. 

Promoted by the City of Milan – Culture and produced by Palazzo Reale and IMG, the exhibition is curated by Florence Müller, internationally renowned lecturer and author, former director of the Union Française des Arts du Costume at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and curator of Fashion and Textile Art at the Denver Art Museum.

It is a sort of declaration of love to Italian culture, the inspiration and muse of the brand’s spirit since its origins, and traces the extraordinary creative process of its founders: from the heart, from which ideas spring, to the hands, the means through which they take shape.

The exhibition route

The exhibition begins with a series of digital artworks created by renowned visual artists of the contemporary scene, who have provided their interpretation of Dolce & Gabbana’s creations – including Felice Limosani, Obvious Art, Alberto Maria Colombo, Quayola, Vittorio Bonapace and Catello – and continues with a sequence of ten rooms that explore the founding themes of the fashion house’s essence, starting with a space entirely dedicated to “Fatto a Mano” (Handmade).

Visitors are greeted by paintings inspired by the Grand Tour of Dolce & Gabbana’s Haute Couture collections signed by Anh Duong, whose iconic aesthetics blend synergistically with the brand identity in close dialogue with the selection of garments presented in this room.

The second room is dedicated to the art of Venetian glassmaking. The display winds between mirrors and chandeliers of high craftsmanship, creations designed to reflect the meticulous details of embroidery and crystals that enrich the dresses presented alongside them.

The third room is a tribute to ‘The Leopard’, a constant reference in Dolce & Gabbana’s vision. The settings of Luchino Visconti’s film version of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel are evoked at the Palazzo Reale with an immersive setting reproducing the famous ballroom scene.

To the theme of devotion is dedicated the fourth room, which is enveloped in a baroque atmosphere: under the auspices of the Sacred Heart, the space presents a contemporary sanctum sanctorum, a treasure chest housing a selection of Haute Couture and Haute Jewellery creations that alternate the allure of black Sicily with the opulence of gold.

The heart of the exhibition is the fifth room, which provides a special glimpse into the workshop practice that is at the heart of Dolce & Gabbana’s Haute Couture, Haute Couture and Haute Jewellery.

The tour continues in the sixth room with a focus on architecture, a discipline that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana frequently draw on. The immersive installation presented in the room expresses this connection by resorting to videomapping in dialogue with the Renaissance works of art that adorn the selection of clothes in the centre of the room.

The wealth of traditional Sicilian craftsmanship lives again in the seventh room thanks to a special installation hand-decorated by master painters of majolica and the Sicilian Carretto and enriched by video-documentation of their work in progress. Here stand some of the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda creations that transfigure the popular symbol of the Sicilian Carretto into wearable art.

The exploration of the Sicilian artistic tradition continues in the eighth room with a homage to Giacomo Serpotta, a master of the Baroque period who dedicated his talent to working with stucco. On display here is a selection of dresses from the ‘Stucchi’ Haute Couture Collection that blends with the surrounding space in a grand visual symphony.

The ninth room reflects the dimension of myth, opulence and dream: on the one hand, Greek divinities materialise in the form of ethereal dresses from the Haute Couture Collection presented in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento; on the other, a selection of Haute Couture creations embellished with elegant mosaic work celebrate the richness of Italy’s Byzantine basilicas.

The exhibition concludes with the tenth room, dedicated to the strong bond that unites the world of Opera and the vision of Dolce & Gabbana. The ambience of the Palazzo Reale breaks down and takes shape again in the representation of the interior of an Italian-style theatre, where the crimson curtain and the orders of the boxes open onto a stage that features creations inspired by the stylists’ best-loved Operas.

And you, did you spot the beautiful Devotion Bag in its original version in the exhibition rooms?

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