The stilist choose Palma di Montechiaro to present the new 2020 collection of Alta Gioielleria jewelry
Why does Dolce and Gabbana choose Palma di Montechiaro?
The city of Tomasi, the land of the Leopard.
Palma di Montechiaro was chosen because it is the birthplace and family seat of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of The Leopard. Whether in the 1963 film adaptation by Luchino Visconti (starring Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale) or in his 1957 published original (written after the Allies bombed his Palermo house to ruins in 1943), Lampedusa’s tale of an ancient family dynasty’s fading in the face of social progress during the 1860s Risorgimento movement (which would lead to the unification of Italy) is part Gone With the Wind, part magical realist existential love poem, and has been rightly cited as one of the finest historical novels ever written.
This town is where that novel was set, but it is off the beaten trail. Tonight, it was polished as perhaps never before. Surrounded by crowds of townsfolk, guests entered one piazza in which a choir sung on a terrazzo, while another sang on the steps of a monastery.
As residents threw rose petals from the balconies above, at the end of the street we hit another piazza, this one much bigger than the last, from one end of which was a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. Within it, beneath some sprawlingly ancient fig trees, were the vitrines containing this season’s jewelry collection. These featured knuckle-size diamonds, olive-size emeralds, and bullet-like rubies all set into bracelets and necklaces of gold and silver made to resemble entwined geckos and snakes and other plutocratic playthings.
Tonight Silvya Mantella announced she was donating that gown—which is hand-painted with two leopards and was inspired by the novel and purchased by her at the Palermo show in 2017—to Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi, the location of much of Visconti’s movie. That palazzo’s current owner, Princess Carine Vanni Calvello Mantegna di Gangi, came up to accept the gift apparently close to tears, before Lampedusa’s heir, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, gave us some family background and ushered us upstairs for dinner. Here the original manuscript of The Leopard was on display, and the first course was “leopard” timbale—a macaroni pie that is sumptuously described in the novel as a dance-floor snack.
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