Dolce and Gabbana are arguably the most powerful and influential designers of our time. Their clients include some of the best dressed people in the world, such as the Beckhams, Madonna and Sophia Loren.
Stefano Gabbana was born on 14 November 1962, in Venice, Italy. Domencio Dolce was born on 13 September 1958, in a small village in Sicily. Dolce studied fashion design in Sicily and gained experience in his parents businesses. Gabbana, however, studied graphic design and gained some work experience in fashion, as an assistant in an atelier in Milan, where the pair first met in 1980.
By 1982, they had started their first fashion consulting studio and, in 1985, they showed their first women’s collection in Milan, winning national acclaim.
The collection was mainly homemade, and consisted of instructed designs and complicated systems of fastenings. Inspirational figures for the collection included Italian actresses Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani.
Later signature designs would include corset dresses, gangster pinstripes and sexy black suits. However, it was a visit to Sicily at the end of the 1980s which was instrumental in emphasising their celebration of the curvaceous female form.
The designing duo next tried their luck in Japan and signed an agreement with the Kashiyama group. In 1989, they opened their first boutique in Japan, and two years later they were presenting their first men’s collection.
Dolce and Gabbana are now fundamentally known for wanting to make women look “fantastically sexy”. Many of their designs are adapted from the feminist-era, before being glamorised and modernised.
They describe their style as “sweet and sharp” and “New Millennium cool”. They were once quoted as saying they are mostly concerned with creating the best, most flattering clothes and sparkling trends.
D&G began achieving long awaited awards in the 1990s and, in 1991, they were awarded the ‘Wollmark Award’ and ‘Best Fragrance of the Year’ in 1993. By the end of the 1990s, it was reported that their sales were around $500 million per year. They have now become one of the world’s most successful ready-to-wear companies and are considered Hollywood’s number one choice of designer.
The couple currently reside in a 19th Century mini-villa in Milan, with an apartment next door. They have also recently renovated one of their properties on the French Riviera.