When fashion fans pronounce the label, their name is often ignored. Because they often just say “Dolce”. On November 14, Stefano Gabbana alone is the center of attention.
Can you tailor with four hands? Ever since Dolce & Gabbana burst onto the fashion scene in the mid-1980s, the answer has been yes. Milanese Stefano Gabbana and Sicilian Domenico Dolce together elevated Mediterranean sensuality to a global ideal of beauty.
With collections that are cheeky, frivolous and pious at the same time, they have become the most successful designer duo in history. But in the end they kept getting calls for a boycott.
As a child he loved dolls
Stefano Gabbana was born on November 14, 1962 in Milan and grew up in modest circumstances. His father worked in a printing shop, his mother as a porter and cleaning lady. It sounds like a fashion designer cliché, but it’s actually true in his case: as a child he had an affinity for dolls and really wanted a Barbie. What fails for a long time due to the resistance of the parents is finally fulfilled with one’s own pocket money.
The childhood of Domenico Dolce, who is four years his senior, points even more clearly to a future fashion career. His father was a tailor in Polizzi Generosa in Sicily. Domenico Dolce learned to sew early on in his parents’ clothing company, made miniature dresses and, at the age of six, at least that’s what he claims, his first piece of clothing.
Like so many southern Italians, Dolce set out as a young man to find happiness in Milan. In the early 1980s he met Stefano Gabbana in a fashion designer’s studio. Gabbana was actually a graphic designer, but was fed up with advertising and was looking for new professional perspectives.
The two men became lovers and founded one of the most important fashion labels in the world to this day. The “&” between their surnames persisted even after they ended their private relationship in 2005.
Dolce & Gabbana are a family business
It could all have been over after the first collection. Your producer had dropped out. “We had to start from scratch again. But all the doors we knocked on remained locked. I thought: Okay, born and died in just one night,” recalled Stefano Gabbana in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. to the beginnings.
It’s a good thing that you can rely on your family in Italy. Even better if she’s in the same industry anyway. Domenico Dolce’s parents took over the production of the collection with their clothing company. Key positions are still occupied by family members today. Alfonso Dolce, the designer’s brother, is the company’s CEO. In addition, they have so far resisted every offer to sell even the smallest company shares.
They countered the androgynous business look of the 1980s with a motherly, sensual type of woman. “Breasts, waist and bottom – that’s what interests me in a woman,” Stefano Gabbana was once quoted as saying by Marie Claire magazine. Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Anna Magnani are the guiding principles of the designer duo, while Sicily and the family are the living environment for their designs.
In her fashion, strict formality meets exuberant imagination. The pinstripe suit and bustiers, corsets and bras worn as outerwear became her first trademarks. When Madonna, who was the measure of all things in show business at the time, had Dolce & Gabbana dress her in the early 90s, the two of them soared unabated. The business is flourishing with sales in excess of the billion mark. But in recent years, designers seemed to be ruining their reputations.
Lots of trouble and shitstorms in recent years
There were several calls for a boycott and shitstorms on the Internet. In 2015, when they spoke out against artificial insemination and surrogacy in an interview with the Italian magazine “Panorama”. The homosexual community in particular, led by Elton John, was up in arms. 2017, because Stefano Gabbana proudly posted a picture of Melania Trump in a Dolce & Gabbana dress on his Instagram account.
And finally, in 2018, the absolute meltdown. Ahead of a mega event planned in Shanghai, the designers launched promotional videos showing a Chinese model trying to eat pasta and pizza with chopsticks. What was probably meant as irony came across as racism. In China, people were so angry that the designers not only had to cancel the show, they had to make a public apology.
Forget everything and forgive? Well, the most recent show at the end of September in Milan was again a great spectacle. Dedicated to Kim Kardashian, the current queen of curves. Some say the designers want to polish up their image with glitz and glamor. For the others, they have simply come back to themselves.