The Story Of Dolce&Gabbana

The story of Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana is a famous fashion house in Milan, Italy. The company was founded in the year 1985 by two designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are known for their unique style and look. They have made stars and celebs shine for many decades. Their collection is reflective of classic Italian tradition inspired by the 60’s.

Dolce was born in Polizzi Generosa, a small village near Palermo, Sicily on August 13, 1958. He grew up in fashion, since his father was a tailor. He has always credited this with the reason fashion became his medium of choice for expressing himself, something he felt a deep desire to do from an early age. He studied fashion when he was young and worked in his family’s small clothing factory as he was growing up. Deciding to go off and pursue his own career in fashion design, Dolce moved to Milan and got a job there at one of its famous design studios. He knew immediately that he had done the right thing that he had found the best way to express himself. He told Bruce Weber in Interview magazine, “[Design] was the way I was able to do the things I was dreaming about. As a designer, I see dreams as my job. It’s like being a psychologist. I have to capture what people are feeling and translate that into fashion and even provide what people want before they consciously know they want it.”

Gabbana, on the other hand, was born in Milan, Italy, on November 14, 1962. Gabbana, unlike his future partner, had never thought about fashion as a child. He grew up away from it and it was not until he was about 15 years old that he became interested in fashion in general for himself, particularly such designers as Fiorucci. Instead, Gabbana studied graphic design at the university because he wanted to go into advertising. He worked in that field for a short time after graduation before he quit, realizing that his heart just was not in it. It was at that time that he turned to fashion. He told Weber in Interview, “I was lucky because a designer took me under his wing and helped me understand the world of fashion. But it was ultimately Domenico who taught me the most about fashion. As time went on while I was learning about it, I fell in love with it—with designing, with making clothes, with dressing people.”

The pair met in 1980 when they were both assistants at an atelier in Milan. They started their partnership in 1982, although they still did freelance designing for other companies until they had officially started their own company. Fame and fortune, however, did not come immediately to them. They struggled to come to the attention of the fashion scene and did everything in their power to show off their designs to bring that about. “I remember our first show,” Dolce reminisced to Susannah Frankel of the Guardian. “We did it in a small apartment in Milan. We organized it ourselves, me and Stefano, without PR. My sister and my brother were on the door.” According to Allison Adato of People, “Using friends as models, they held shows wherever they could—even in a fast-food restaurant. The unconventional approach stirred enough buzz to land them a spot in Milan’s 1984 fashion week.” They made their real world debut at the “New Talent” fashion shows at the Milan collections in October of 1985. They received such acclaim that they launched the Dolce & Gabbana women’s collection the very next year, in March of 1986. In 1987, they launched a separate knitwear line, and in 1989 they started designing a lingerie line and a beachwear line. Two years later they launched their leotard line, and in 1989 they began designing underwear and swimming costumes. Dolce & Gabbana started to export their products to Japan and other countries, such as the US, where they founded their own showroom in 1990. Also in 1990 the pair won the Woolmark Award for the most innovative men’s collection of the year. In 1992, the same year they presented their men’s collection, they also launched their first perfume Dolce & Gabbana. They won an Oscar for Best Male Perfume in 1996. Towards the end of the 1990’s their sales were around 500 million dollars and in 2003 alone their revenue reached 633.2 million dollars. Then, in 1990, they launched their first men’s collection. Their 1990 Spring/Summer women’s collection referenced the mythological painting of Raphael and the duo began to build a reputation for crystal-encrusted clothing. The 1991 Fall/Winter women’s collection was also adorned by trinkets, including filigree medals and embellished corsets. They launched the D&G men’s collection in January of 1994 and the D&G women’s collection in March of that same year. (D&G is their less expensive line of clothing.) Every year their collections change, although each designer has his favorite pieces that remain in the collection each season.

The one thing that really made the designers’ career, however, was when their clothes came to the attention of pop sensation Madonna. She has become one of the duo’s biggest fans. In 1993, they created 1,500 costumes for Madonna’s world tour, “The Girlie Show.” They expected this to bring them into the eyes of fashion critics and aficionados around the world, but they received even more recognition than they expected. Then, for Madonna’s Music album, the designers went even further for their favorite pop star; not only did they dress Madonna and her entire ensemble, but they designed and created an entire backdrop for the tour.

In 1995 the book 10 Years of Dolce and Gabbana was published. The book, which commemorated the first decade of the designers’ fashions in photographs, had an introduction by Isabella Rossellini, the Italian actress who has been wearing their clothes almost since the pair started designing them. Their clothing has been worn by such famous people as Brian Ferry, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, Beyonce Knowles, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few. By the year 1997, the D&G Company made a turnover of 400 million pounds and they announced their plans to retire at an early age of 40.

In 2003, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were honored in New York as Best Designer of the Year at the prestigious GQ Men of the Year Awards for outstanding achievement in men’s fashion design. In the same year they were honored in New York at the Fashion Group International’s 20th Annual Night of Stars for outstanding achievement in Italian design

In 2004 Dolce and Gabbana opened their first stand-alone store anywhere in the world in London, England, the D&G emporium, which stocked the duos less-expensive designer collection.  The same year at the Università Bocconi in Milan, Dolce & Gabbana received the “Premio Risultati 2004” award for the company’s financial performance and best financial statements during the four-year period of 1999-2002, and for its strategic positioning and development prospects. In 2005, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are presented the ‘GQ Men of the Year Award’ for best international designers by Russian GQ.

Dolce & Gabbana celebrated the 20th anniversary of their brand on 19 June 2010 in Milan. A public exhibition was also held the following day that included a room in which several dozen televisions were piled haphazardly upon each other, each showing a different one of the design house’s previous collections going back over its twenty-year history.

Although the pair became lovers when they set up their fashion house in 1985, they only announced their relationship publicly in 2000. They bought the Villa Volpe, a 19th-century palazzo in the center of Milan and moved in together. In 2003 the pair came out with their second book of photos called Hollywood. However, in 2005 Dolce and Gabbana announced that they had split up their personal relationship, “On a professional level we are still together. We work together wonderfully well, and we have a very strong understanding. We have a very strong love which ties us to each other.