DOLCE&GABBANA: THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FASHION DUET

Lubomir Stoykov

Domenico Dolce and Stefano GabbanaDomenico Dolce was born on 13th of September 1958 in Polici Generosa (near Palermo) – Italy, Stefano Gabbana – on 14th of November 1962 in Venice (according to some sources – in Milan) – Italy. They get to know each other in Milan in 1980, where they work for the same fashion house. In 1982 they both create a common design consultant studio, which has grown into the famous today fashion house “Dolce&Gabbana”. In 1985 they present in Milan their first women collection and in 1986 they open there their first store. Two years later they launch a knitted line and in 1989 they start to create underwear and swimming suits collections. They start to export their clothes in Japan (1988) and in other countries like USA, where in 1990 they open their show room. The same year they start to produce their men collections. In 1994 the line “D&G” starts. It is created especially for the young people and for that reason it has reasonable prices. From 1995 they create collections of glasses with their own design. In 1991 they are winners of Woolmark award and in 1993 they receive the award for the Most feminine fragrance of the year. In 1996 they get the “Oscar” for the best men perfume. In the end of the nineties their sales amount to about 500 million dollars per year, and in 2003 their turnover reaches 475 million euro. They have their own boutiques in some of the biggest cities in the world – Paris, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, as in the most European countries and on several continents.

The tandem Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana is maybe the most successful duet in the world fashion design. Their fashion is well sold, not just because is market oriented and has really commercial character, but also because it is maximally close to the values and to the expectations of the young consumers. People like their fashion because it is fresh, actual and unadulterated. The fetishes of rock and pop music, ethno style and postmodern eclectics are grounded in her basis. What do we know about the two famous designers? What is their philosophy and aesthetics? What makes them inseparable with the world famous pop stars? Where are the poles of their intimate attraction and why they pass each other in their private life?

Модели на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 2005Модели на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 2005Модели на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 2005

The senior in the famous couple – “the big brother” Domenico Dolce, is plunged in the fashion from his childhood. His father was tailor, and later he become owner of little factory for clothes in Milan. His mother also is devoted to the fashion design and to the fashion business. Stefano Gabbana graduates in graphic design. When they meet each other in Milan, they both are united from the desire to change the style and the ideas of people about elegance. Yet their first common collection, showed in 1985, consists with the quintessence of their creative ideas – eclectics and romance, mixture of the different styles, non-standard constructive decisions and many youth spirit.

PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETICS

The way of thinking of Dolce and Gabbana is defined from the newest vibrations in the postmodern Italian culture and so of course, from the best achievements in the Italian design tradition, where especially authoritatively are showed up such significant stylists like Pucci, Albini, Armani, Valentino, Versace Ferre etc. The Sicily character and the Venice sensibility leave their mark on their creative work. Domenico Dolce interprets in interesting way the relationship between the Sicily mentality and the comprehension for elegance: “The Sicily people can be proud and noble even if they aren’t rich. Every Sunday they put their most beautiful clothes and walk with them, even if they are the only ones. They are bright evidence, that the elegance can’t be shaped. This is something that is inside, something that man can cultivate in himself, if he knows the meaning of his life.”

5.Модел на Долче и Габана, есен-зима 2004-2005Скици на Долче и Габана, лято 2003Джери Хол позира в “далматински” тоалет на Долче и Габана по случай премиерата на филма “1001 далматинци”, 1997 г.

Between the most serious reasons to work together is their close attitude to the beauty, which is the highest motivation for creative work. Both are influenced not just from the splendid beauty of baroque, but also from the movie masterpieces of Roberto Rossellini and Lukino Viskonti and their principal characters – the sensual and feminine Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Anna Magniani. In their design art they inspired themselves from such great fashion experimenters like Issey Miake, Yogi Jamamoto and Ray Cavakubo. Innovation, intelligent primary, hot sex attitude and daring eroticism – everything, mixed in the amalgam of the modern pop culture and the street fashion is in the culture and aesthetic basis in the style “Dolce&Gabbana”.

Their aesthetics is bound by the negligee fashion of the street and the youth subculture. The more daringly – the better! The sexier – the more successfulness! The beautiful embroideries, the artistic ornaments and the use of the patchwork in their collections bespeak for the search of ethno-chic. The atmosphere of the lovely Italian small villages, the warm spirit of the Mediterranean countries, the picturesque nature also reflects in their art.

In the first years in their recognition the two stylists strive for by all possible means to escape the rude commercialization of their design. They work for their name with the clear consciousness, that they can’t permit compromises under the influence of the market juncture and of the sketchy fashion tendencies. At the end of eighties in interviews for the medias they talk about the enormous meaning of the name “Dolce&Gabbana” and they mark, that they have no intension to make fast money and that it is very important for them to build their image of professionals and designers, who propose high quality, fresh style and comfortable and fashionable clothes, slower but surely.

Хелена Кристенсен представя мода на Долче и Габана през 1993 годинаМодел на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 1993Модели на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 2004

The design duo Dolce&Gabbana likes beautiful houses and apartments, moreover – always well appointed accordingly to their taste and style. The interior of their country house “San Damien” in Milan reminds very much of their collections, charged with the spirit of eclectics, the different ethnics, urban and subculture influences. There is nothing strange in the symbiosis of Russian carpet from XVIII century and chairs with zebra design. The multiple pictures of cinema stars like Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitcham, Anna Magniani and Sofia Lorraine, and also pictures from the childhood and juvenile years of the two designers supplement the feeling about the mosaic culture and together with that – about home cozy and ease. Stefano Gabbana says: “My life is my work. If my work place seemed too business and official, I would feel like if somebody took my life. I want, as long as I work, to feel like at home.” Domenico Dolce supplements him: “I don’t want to live in a museum. When you walk down the street, you see that one building is old, the other close to it is new. The third is ugly, the forth is wonderful. This is normal. This is the life today”. The Egyptian vases, the London table, the New York lamp, collected during many years are finally together, at one place. Their view gives the opportunity for aesthetical estimate for the possible combinations and associations in the fashion design.

METAMORPHOSIS OF THE STYLE

Модели на Долче и Габана, eсен-зима 1991-1992In the aesthetic and creative evolution the style of Dolce&Gabbana bears many metamorphoses. Their first collections in eighteenth years are marked with the stamp of beautiful Italian women – cinema stars, and of the Sicilian manner of clothing. In their models dominate flounces, crimps, curls. Accents are put on the long rich ornate skirts, head shawl and other romantic and talkative details. Separate segment is the religious influence and the use of church attributes (although moderately) in their works, like for example rosaries and crosses. The active role of the black color in their creative should not be ignored. In the nineties their fashion becomes more and more vital, sensual and sexy. In the foreground come out the intimate clothes, respectively the use of corsages, the suspenders and the fatal black stockings. The hippy theme is also skillfully interpreted from the two fashion creators, who don’t hide their partialities to the alternative appearance of the youth subcultures and the underground influences. If we stare at one their model in the hippy style from the collection spring-summer 1993 we will mark the master use of the effects of beads, cloche, patchwork, shawl with fringes and hat with sloping periphery.

In the begging of the new millennium Dolce&Gabbana launch bravest visions, that remind of some of the works of the world fashion avant-gardes like Paco Rabanne, Andre Curege and Pierre Cardin – sharp forms and futuristic elements. Many metal buttons, warlike buckles and other metal ornaments give aggressive dosage in the fashion of the Italian tandem.

The experts mark that between 2002 – 2003 in their collections clearly appears the influence of the British style and more concrete of the suggestion of Vivian Westwood, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Borrowings from the clothing of the pirates, of the majestic capes and of theatricality and eclectics in clear English interpretation characterize the models of Dolce&Gabbana. During the next years the developments are to the direction of the cowboy style and the look of Japanese geishas, rock culture, pop musicians etc. The designers bring to fashion the 7/8 trousers, the short jackets and doll dresses. During all the decades the common and the constant in their work is the mass use of the denim (trousers, jackets and shirts, artistically torn and split, ornate with many passion), of the t-shirts (immortal symbol of the youth contra culture and alternative thinking), combined with shorts, jeans or skirts, as well as the fresh embroideries and the beautiful erotize of the style. Whether the shoes will be with high platforms from the “tank” type or the accent will be put on the little black dress – everything depends on the season, the mood and the inspiration of the original Italian designers.

In their newest period between 2005 and 2006 Dolce&Gabbana changed in the direction of more refined elegance, close to the classic fashion-line concepts and to the more calm capacities, silhouettes, cuts and color variations. Without changing their traditional fresh manner and suggestions for youth crudity and asperity, they make quite definite aesthetic allusion for the multi-dimension character of their talent. The lady’s collection “Something for everybody”, autumn-winter 2006-2007 is significant in that direction. The type of Napoleon Bonaparte and the military theme as a whole inspires their proposals for men for the same season. It is no accident that this collection is called “War and peace”, and between her leading components is showed up the jodhpurs, the boots, the jackets and the jeans, influenced by the military style of clothing.

Клаудия Шифер позира в колекцията Wildness на Долче и Габана, пролет-лято 1997Модели на Долче и Габана ( детайл), 1999 г. Модел на Долче и Габана, издържан в хипи-стила

INSEPARABLE WITH THE POP STARS

There exists nothing more natural and normal for the creative of Dolce&Gabbana than their enormous interest to the pop-stars and their close relationships with them. Most famous performers are their fans, but maybe most actively they work with Madonna, Whitney Huston and Kylie Minogue. The Madonna’s corset is emblematical, whole ornate with effect stones and crystals, made by the two designers in 1991. This coincides with the period, when the pop star provoked general interest to the low necks and eccentric accentuate of the bust, and as a whole to the more erotic and sexy fashion, launched with the help of strong attention to the underwear and its showing up. Whitney Huston also takes advantage of their services, ordering from “Dolce&Gabbana” all the costumes for her whole tour. In the design of these and others scene clothes the two fashion creators accentuate to the mixture of colors and styles, as well as to the achievement of individual expressiveness and cultural extravagance. The boyish, the girlish and as a whole – the youth appearance is another special feature, that shows strongly especially in the clothes and in the complements, devoted to the pop stars.

Долче (вдясно) и Габана отмарят в компанията на любимия им лабрадор Лола.The respect and the admiration towards the king of rock and roll Elvis Presley appeared, when for the presentation of their collection autumn-winter 2004-2005 they invite to march by the granddaughter of Elvis Presley – 14 years old Riley Keough. She is child from the marriage of Lisa Marry Presley and the musical performer Danny Keough. Printed t-shirts, mini denim skirts, as well as effect and gay necklace, belts and shoes characterized the most of the models in this collection. Riley Keough presents herself quite simpler with toilet, well sustained in the style of aesthetical grunge, in that dominated the rushes, the flounces and the elegant pendant. “It is a great honor for us to help her start working as a model. With the beauty of her mother and the appearance of his grandfather she is future star” comment Dolce&Gabbana the debut of Riley on the fashion stage.

PRIVATE LIFE: INTIMACY AND PARTING

The difference in the sexual orientation of the famous fashion designers doesn’t surprise anybody from a long time ago. The intimate relationship of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana certainly belongs to the category of non-conventional love stories and gives exceptionally good creative and business result. They not just long years cohabit to a conjugal principals, but actively they fight for defense of the rights of the gay community, and generally for the people, confessing non-standard sexual preferences. Both defend with passion in their public expressions, the so-called “Pact for civil solidarity”, according to which the couples who live together (even if they are not registered officially) have the same human rights as those, who are officially registered by civil act. They contradict to Silvio Berlusconi, to whose party “Onward, Italy!” they have great political sympathies.

Произведения на Долче и Габана, есен-зима 2007-2008Произведения на Долче и Габана, есен-зима 2007-2008Произведения на Долче и Габана, есен-зима 2007-2008

The fashion world stayed in shock, when at 2005 the two designers announced that, they stop their long-lived private relationship ant that they stay only partners in the design and in the business. The possible reasons for that are several. On the one hand, the natural and logical ending or “consuming” of the relation and of their emotional life together. On the other hand, probable disappointment one from the other, or mutually - both from each other. But maybe the most important reason for their “divorce” roots in their radical difference on the question for family and for child adoption. While the older Domenico Dolce does not care about having own (like gene and biology) child and is ready to raise more kids, lead by nostalgia to his own childhood, for the younger – Stefano Gabbana the things don’t stay absolutely in the same way. He cares about being the biological father, to have one son and he is ready to make this, if only he founds appropriate for the mark mother-donor. “Because it is impossible one kid to have a father, and not to have a mother, and to feel them close, to grow up under their mutual cares. Even if the parents live separately, for example in neighbor apartments or houses, like usual divorced, who found together warmth for their child” develops his philosophy Stefano Gabbana (cit. R. Mihailov and n.”Monitor”).

In this case the good thing (if something like this can be good!) is that both overcome the emotional and intimate rupture and continue to work together. They have million of fans, not just clients, and the fact that they continue their mutual design activity is very good.

Произведения на Долче и Габана за “D&G”, пролет-лято 2008Произведения на Долче и Габана за “D&G”, пролет-лято 2008

* * *
The creative and business success of the Italian designer duo Dolce&Gabbana is due to at least four important reasons. The first reason is their initial aspiration to be different, special and individual in their art. The second reason is their organic relation with the folklore and the ethnical richness, thanks to which their models are gay, vital and effect. The third reason is that their never-failing interest to the real life and the street ideas and the youth culture leads to the creation of comfortable, fresh and loaded with sports spirit clothes, in which the sexy attitude interweaves with the romance and the eclectics. The fourth reason is that their complete communication with the cinema and the pop music gives birth to the new masterpieces in the fashion design, loaded with new, non-standard vision, eccentric and challenge. Dolce&Gabbana enrich the Italian fashion tradition just with the brave entering in the value system of the new generation. Not just by the clothes and the accessories, but also with the remembered perfumes they give their fresh impulse to the world fashion. Their new constructive decisions, original mix of forms, colors and aesthetical difference, creative difference about the notions “elegance”, “style” and “postmodernism” should be evaluated in the highest way.

Notes:
(1) The following sources are used in the article: Holyday of the more special taste. Domenico Dolce&Stefano Gabbana, m. “Maximum”, issue 10, April, 2000, p. 9-10; Chua, Lawrence, Dolce & Gabanna, Sicilian style. (women’s apparel designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce) In: WWD, 6/21/1989; Dolce and Gabbana. In: Fashion Designers – Vogue – Internet; Evans, C.Fashion at the edge. Yale University press. New Haven and London, 2003 ; Martin, R.The St.James Fashion Encyclopedia:A Survey of Style from 1945 to the Present.Visible Ink Press. Detroit,1997; McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000; Reuters; Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann,2000,Cologne and other publications in the Bulgarian and the foreign press.

Photos:

1. Domenico Dolce&Stefano Gabbana
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer. Köln, 1999, p.537.
2., 3. and 4. Models of Dolce&Gabbana, spring-summer 2005
Photo: © “Elle” (Ru), April 2005
5. Model of Dolce&Gabbana, autumn-winter 2004-2005
Photo: © “Vogue” (Ru) , August 2004
6. Sketches of Dolce&Gabbana , summer 2003
Photo: © “Vogue” (Ru) , August 2003
7. Jerry Hall poses in “Dalmatian” toilet of Dolce&Gabbana on the occasion of the premiere of the film “1001 Dalmatians”, 1997
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer. Köln, 1999, p.537.
8. Helena Christensen present fashion of Dolce&Gabbana in 1993
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer. Köln, 1999, p.537.
9. Model of Dolce&Gabbana, spring-summer 1993
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer. Köln, 1999, p.537.
10. Models of Dolce&Gabbana, spring-summer 2004
Photo: © “Vogue”, Jan 2004
11. Models of Dolce&Gabbana, autumn-winter 1991-1992
Photo: © McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000, р. 416;
12. Claudia Shiffer poses in the collection “Wildness” of Dolce&Gabbana, spring-summer 1997
Photo: © Michel Comte / McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000, р. 352;
13. Models of Dolce&Gabbana (detail), 1999
Photo: © Stevem Klein / McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000, р. 415;
14. Model of Dolce&Gabbana, well sustained in the hippy style (beads, cloche, patchwork, shawl with fringes and hat with sloping periphery), spring-summer 1993
Photo: © Niall McInerney / Polhemus, T. Streetstyle: from sidewalk to catwalk. London, New York, 1996, p.66
15. Dolce (to the right) and Gabbana take a rest in the company of their favorite Labrador Lola.
Photo: © m.”Maximum”
16. – 18. Works of Dolce&Gabbana, autumn-winter 2007-2008
Photo: © Marcio Madeira/VOGUE.COM
19. – 20. Works of Dolce&Gabbana for “D&G”, spring-summer 2008
Photo: © Marcio Madeira/VOGUE.COM

Video:
“ Dolce&Gabbana” – a movie by Lubomir Stoykov, broadcast in a transmission for style “The charm dictator” at “7 days” television in 2007 – part 1
“ Dolce&Gabbana” – a movie by Lubomir Stoykov, broadcast in a transmission for style “The charm dictator” at “7 days” television in 2007 – part 2

Dolce & Gabbana: Women Fashion Show SS 2007 Runway (Part 1)

Dolce & Gabbana: Women Fashion Show SS 2007 Runway (Part 2)

Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion Show FW 06-07 Runway (Part 1)

Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion Show FW 06-07 Runway (Part 2)

Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion Show FW07-08 Women (Part 1)

Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion Show FW07-08 Women (Part 2)

DOLCE & GABBANA MENSWEAR SPRING/SUMMER 2008

Translator: Kristina Paytasheva


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