MONOGRAPH
DOLCE & GABBANA

WOMEN COLLECTIONS – 2001>2010

All the outfits of the Dolce & Gabbana fashion shows 2001>2010

The one-room apartment in Piazza Cinque Giornate in Milan is almost entirely occupied by a great big design table. Sitting there sketching, discussing, eating and drinking one coffee after another are two guys their neighbours good-naturedly call “the tramps”.
This is the early ’80s and the two guys are Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana: by day they work for different designer studios, by night they dream of having their own fashion label. This is how it starts – two hearts and an attic, a 2CV for getting about, a two million lire initial investment and a debut in 1985 among other young Milanese fashion talents. This is the history of a brand that now earns over a billion Euros, has single-brand stores around the world and is a landmark of Italian glamour.
Domenico’s Sicilian origins are one of the main inspirations of their collections, which always star a passionate woman with sculpted curves, ready to beat the seduction challenge even when in mourning or fingering a rosary.
The narrative power of their work, inspired by realist novels and Italian post-war cinema, but later also by the 19th century, China, swinging London and whatever eclectic reference you can imagine, conquers audiences and quickly becomes the darling of the fashion scene.

Corsets, brassières, slip dresses, long “leopard” skirts, tailored jackets, men’s suits and dappled prints, are just some of the Dolce & Gabbana trademark pieces marking the brand’s first 15 years, with great success not only from the market but also from show-biz, especially music and movies.

“Now that Fellini, Rossellini, Pasolini and Visconti are no longer with us”, says Madonna, “all we have left is the neo-realist fashion of Dolce & Gabbana”. At the turn of the Millennium the creative duo dressed the material girl twice during her tours, launched a menswear line, a junior line and a young woman line, D&G; the brand produces fragrances, leatherwear, special one-off pièces for the more exacting clients and for international red carpet events. The two “tramps” become so famous that, a few years later, the intern in The Devil Wears Prada will ask: “Does Dolce and Gabbana have one ‘b’ or two?” Fashion followers burst out laughing: even in China, everyone can spell the brand.

After designing the clothes for Kylie Minogue’s tour, Stefano and Domenico’s link with the big showbiz names scores another goal with the launch of the Sicily fragrance in 2003, with testimonial Monica Bellucci filmed in a commercial by Giuseppe Tornatore with music by Ennio Morricone. The football metaphor is not gratuitous: in 2004 the book Calcio comes out with photographs by Mariano Vivanco, a personal tribute by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana to the new icons of masculine style, i.e. footballers.
Shortly afterwards begins a long collaboration with the sport world thanks to which the two designers create the kit for AC Milan and for the Italian national team at the Germany World Cup in 2006, as well as the Chinese national team kit for the European tour of summer 2007. The pair’s rise to success seems unstoppable, yet while the business is going from strength to strength, the couple’s twenty-year personal relationship comes to an end in 2004. However, this inevitably painful break-up has no effect on the company: now in different apartments in the same building, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce continue to run their business together, from conception to final touches, from licensing decisions to the increasingly numerous partnerships with the automobile, technology and publishing sectors, arguing and making up as much as ever. New stores, books and events: almost every month you hear talk of Dolce & Gabbana, culminating in the opening of a new multipurpose space (for fashion shows and events) in Viale Piave 24, the former home of the Metropol, a historic Milanese cinema dating back to the Forties. The 20th anniversary in 2005 is also an opportunity for a party, organised to coincide with the September show, with over 2000 guests and a special performance by Donna Summer, as well as for the publication of a luxurious book aimed at supporting “Save the Children”, which features over 1000 archive photos. There are tears and applause on the pastoral runway, featuring plant prints, checked tablecloths, flowery evening outfits and lots of VIP guests. The following year, everyone reassembles again for the inauguration in Milan of the restaurant Gold, which has over 1500 square metres incorporating several floors and spaces. Needless to say, the interior design is entirely based around gold materials and décor. After all, the duo’s ability to break the mould and taboos, and at times to go too far, is a company asset, often with unexpected results: indeed, just a few months later the talk is not so much about the naked photo of Stefano and Domenico in American magazine W, shot by Steven Klein, as about the advertising campaign launched in Spain and France. The shot of a man holding a woman down on the ground while other men look on indifferently causes a scandal. The photo is deemed degrading to women, so the image is withdrawn in Spain and Italy to prevent further criticism.

The final piece of the Dolce & Gabbana offer, in the beauty sector, comes in 2009 with the launch of the first cosmetics collection, created in collaboration with make-up artist Pat McGrath and “worn” by Scarlett Johansson in the advertising campaign. The same year, a tousled, neo-realist version emerges of the new brand testimonial, Madonna. The first decade of the new Millennium ends with the celebration of the first 20 years of menswear collections: more tears, three photo books, an exhibition at Palazzo Marino that galvanises the city’s attention and, of course, a party. The star-studded red carpet event is attended by such international stars as Annie Lennox with her daughters Lola and Tali, Matthew McConaughey with Camila Alves, Monica Bellucci, Juliette Binoche, Rachel Weisz, Eva Herzigova, Roberto Bolle, Eleonora Abbagnato and some of Italy’s top sporting stars. Applause please.

ItalyABC