DOLCE & GABBANA BY NUMBERS
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