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The Dolce & Gabbana Couture experience is unique in more ways than one. For starters, only a handful of editors are invited. Instead, the gilded salons of the Milanese penthouse where it is held are mostly filled with friends of the house and top-spending clients – with husbands in tow. There is no seating plan; here, the 150 guests are allowed to sit wherever they please, and lastly, you won’t ever see these clothes on the back of a celebrity – no matter what their status – because real couture customers don’t want to see their gown paraded on anybody else. Every Alta Moda piece is a one-off; it works on a first-come, first-served basis and, as a result, the feverish race to order as soon as the last model exits is palpable, even in this grand room scented with expensive perfume and a million flowers streaming from vases and pergolas.

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