Through the combination of Sicilian style, a source of inspiration for the brand, and neorealism in cinema, the tank top has transformed into an emblem of masculinity, expressing strength and authenticity. It was in 1990 when Dolce&Gabbana made this garment an essential element in Italian fashion and a symbol of style that continuously renews itself over time.
“What man should we create? We took all the experience, those ten years of experience that we had on women, and we threw it on men. If the symbol for women was the brassiere, for men it had to be the tank top.”
Domenico Dolce, in the podcast “Molto Italiano” [Spotify link], recounts the origin of this inspiration: “A simple, modest garment, if you will. However, it was the symbol of the man from the South.” Every piece, in the brand’s history, is a representation of an ideal of beauty, and the undershirt represented pure masculinity. The tank top has played a significant role in revolutionizing the representation of the male body on the silver screen. Luchino Visconti’s groundbreaking film, “Ossessione” (Obsession, 1943), serves as a prime example of how the tank top became a homoerotic object, capturing the sensual desires of viewers. Massimo Girotti was the protagonist, and he wore the simple tank top, highlighting his masculine form and creating a muscular sensuality in his tank top. Filmed in 1942, during the later years of the fascist regime, the movie defied censorship and paved the way for the male body to be celebrated as an object of desire, both in Italian and global cinema.