Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

pas­sion for fash­ion is in­deli­bly stamped on the souls of Domenico Dolce and Ste­fano Gab­bana. The busi­ness part­ners be­lieve their 30-year rel­e­vance is down to one emo­tion: love. “We do ev­ery­thing by heart,” says Ste­fano. “If we don’t feel it, then we don’t do it. We can’t.” Af­firms Domenico, “There’s a say­ing in a movie, ‘With love and art, you can move a moun­tain.’”

The Ital­ian duo’s ge­nius lies in their abil­ity to blend splashy cre­ativ­ity with ra­zor-sharp busi­ness acu­men. Many fash­ion houses have be­come part of large con­glom­er­ates or re­liant on ac­ces­sories for com­mer­cial suc­cess. But Domenico and Ste­fano con­tinue to head their own com­pany, which mostly fo­cuses on readyto-wear, with a knack for bal­anc­ing sen­si­bil­ity with sense.

“We are both the owner and the de­signer,” ex­plains Domenico. “We are 50 per cent cre­ative, 50 per cent check­ing the busi­ness. It’s not easy. You have more free­dom and you an­swer to your­self. But like a wed­ding, it’s for bet­ter or worse.” Says Ste­fano, “When you are alone, you take on ev­ery­thing. The free­dom comes with a price.”

It’s a price the pair is ca­pa­ble of shoul­der­ing—and their risks have made the house an in­dus­try leader val­ued at US$5.3 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg. Dolce & Gab­bana was the first Ital­ian Dolce & Gab­bana re­veals its first women’s col­lec­tion in a show ti­tled Real Women The brand en­ters an agree­ment with the Kashiyama group to open its first bou­tique in Ja­pan The first men’s col­lec­tion is shown for the Ital­ian la­bel fash­ion com­pany to ob­tain a li­cence to op­er­ate in Main­land China with­out a lo­cal part­ner, open­ing its first flag­ship store in Hangzhou in 2005 and a Mar­tini Bar in Shang­hai a year later.

“We love China—we love Chi­nese peo­ple and they love us,” says Domenico. “And it’s al­ways easy to come to Hong Kong. We come quite reg­u­larly; it has good en­ergy.”

As well as ge­o­graph­i­cal tar­gets, the duo con­sis­tently hit the mark with their pre­dic­tions of so­cio-eco­nomic fac­tors. The brand ap­pears to have been ahead of the curve when it closed its sec­ondary la­bel D&G in 2012 to switch its fo­cus to a haute cou­ture line (Alta Moda). “Other peo­ple said we were crazy to close D&G,” says Ste­fano of their prag­matic de­ci­sion. “But we just looked at our busi­ness one day and saw that in the fu­ture, the sec­ondary line would be­come ob­so­lete. We can’t com­pete with the big pow­ers— H&M and Zara—if we are mak­ing our de­signs in Italy,” says Domenico.

The suc­cess of the women’s be­spoke col­lec­tions has seen a men’s line in­tro­duced, Alta Sar­to­ria, in­di­cat­ing that male con­sumers also have an in­creas­ing ap­petite for one-of-a-kind pieces made with metic­u­lous Ital­ian crafts­man­ship. Dolce & Gab­bana was also the first ma­jor brand to in­vite fash­ion bloggers to its front row—and the first to re­move them. “We don’t be­lieve in fast fash­ion,” says Ste­fano. “It’s part of a mar­ket­ing busi­ness. Dolce & Gab­bana de­signs 1,500 cos­tumes for Madonna’s 1993 The Girlie Show World Tour

D&G, the con­tem­po­rary line for men and women, is launched

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