HISTORY OF DOLCE AND GABBANA
It’s been said that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana possess the True Fashionista ability of being able to mix periods and countries, masculine and feminine looks, fabrics and styles. They are one of the best examples of Italian ready-to-wear that exploded during the mid-1980s. Starting their company with less than $2,000, they are today considered “the most powerful designers of our time” and are among the richest men in Italy.
Fashion was a natural choice for Domenico Dolce. Born into a family clothing business in 1958 in Polizzi Generosa, Sicily, he worked here from childhood on. Stefano Gabbana had it a bit different. Born in Milan in 1962, his mother was a laundry service worker and his father worked in a printing factory.
The two met in Milan in 1980, where they designed for the same fashion house. In 1982 they opened a designer consulting studio, which in time became their own luxury Italian fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana. As part of Milan’s New Talent group, they were invited by fashion promoter Beppe Modenese to participate in its first runway show in 1985. Upon positive reception, they produced their first collection, called “Real Women”, the next year. They didn’t have enough money to hire models or provide accessories for them, so their model friends simply wore their personal items to complement the clothing. They even used a bed sheet that Dolce had brought from home as their stage curtain. (Wikipedia) Humble beginnings, indeed!
At a time when fashion saw women as executives in two-piece suits with padded shoulders, Dolce & Gabbana’s first collection included tulle and angora, twin sets in jersey lace, and soft, wide, extravagant skirts. Their favorite materials were crocheted lace, wool, and silk, exemplified by their knitwear line launched in 1987. In 1989 the Dolce & Gabbana beachwear and lingerie lines were launched. Beginning in 1988 they took production of their ready-to-wear line back home to Domenico Dolce’s family-owned atelier in Legnano, Milan, where the first Dolce & Gabbana men’s collection was created in 1990.
In 1992 the company launched their first fragrance, Dolce & Gabbana. An instant and ongoing success, Dolce & Gabbana have continued to annually release fragrances and colognes for men and women. Fragrances.bg enthuses, “Dolce & Gabbana’s perfumes are a true embodiment of the Mediterranean luxury and Italian sophistication. They offer an impressive luxurious collection of fragrances both for men and for women that captivate the essence of the fashion brand. Their men’s perfumes are masculine, charismatic, and elegant while their women’s fragrances are exceptionally feminine and sensual.”
As if Dolce & Gabbana weren’t already a household name, in 1990 they acquired a fan named Madonna, who ordered from their New York showroom a guêpière (corset) made of gemstones and a jacket to wear at Cannes to launch her film Truth or Dare: In Bed with Madonna by Alek Keshishian (1990). This was followed by an order for 1500 costumes created for her famous world tour, “The Girlie Show”. They also dressed Madonna for the album Music in 2001, and in 2010 the trio released an exclusive line of sunglasses called MDG. Many Hollywood A-listers are True Fashionista Dolce & Gabbana fans as well, such as Brad Pitt, Beyoncé Knowles, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.
In 1994 they launched the youthful, street-style-inspired D&G label, and for their tenth anniversary in 1996, they published Ten Years of Dolce & Gabbana, encapsulating their most important advertising images and texts.
Love to Know shares that “Dolce and Gabbana are considered the inventors of a Mediterranean style that draws its inspiration from the Sicily of Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film The Leopard and the women of Italian realism, sensual and austere like Anna Magnani, to whom they dedicated a collection whose key element was the 1940s slip.”
For a men’s show in 2003, Dolce & Gabbana took inspiration from contemporary soccer stars, showing their ability once again to successfully mix time periods, masculine and feminine looks, fabrics and styles. Not surprisingly, they have designed the uniforms and off-field attire for A.C. Milan men’s soccer since 2004, followed by signing on with other teams shortly thereafter.
In January 2016, the company started a high-end fashion line aimed at True Fashionista Muslim women featuring a collection of hijabs and abayas printed with daisies, lemons and roses.
Branching their brand even further, in 2017 Dolce & Gabbana collaborated with Italian brand Smeg to launch a line of colorfully decorated kitchen appliances called “Sicily is My Love”, a Made in Italy project. Each design tells a story of Sicily’s culture and history. Starting with a line of 100 unique, hand painted refrigerators, the next year offerings extended to smaller products such as toasters, citrus juicers, stand mixers and blenders.
“When we design it’s like a movie,” says Domenico Dolce. “We think of a story and we design the clothes to go with it.” They claim to be more concerned about creating the best, most flattering clothes than sparking trends, once admitting that they wouldn’t mind if their only contribution to fashion history was a black bra (Dolce & Gabbana 2007/Wikipedia).
We can’t wait to see the next True Fashionista inspiration that moves these two!