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History of Dolce & Gabbana Brand

Domenico Dolce was born in Polizzi Generosa (near Palermo, Sicily) on 13 September 1958. His family owned a small clothing business, where Domenico worked from childhood. Stefano Gabbana was born in Milan on 14 November 1962. He studied graphics but soon turned to fashion. After a brief period working as assistant designers, they founded the Dolce & Gabbana label, which had its first runway show as part of the New Talent group in Milan in 1985, upon the invitation of Italian fashion promoter Beppe Modenese.


Dolce and Gabbana's First Collection

In 1986 they produced their first collection, called "Real Women." In 1987 they launched their knitwear line and in 1989 their beachwear and lingerie lines. Beginning in 1988 they produced their ready-to-wear line in Domenico Dolce's family-owned atelier, located in Legnano, Milan. The first Dolce & Gabbana men's collection appeared in 1990. In 1994 they launched the D&G label, inspired by street style and a more youthful look. The clothes were produced and distributed by IttierrIn 2003 their newest store, covering three floors, opened in Corso Venezia in Milan, in the former home of Brigatti, perhaps Milan's best-known luxury sportswear store. The store is designed in the round from a central piazza and includes a bar, a traditional barber-shop, and an ultramodern spa. The individual stores are illuminated by lamps of Venini glass, made according to designs by Domenico Dolce.

In a 1995 interview Dolce and Gabbana recalled their first professional foray into fashion during the Milan collections as eliciting "one of the strongest emotions we have ever experienced" (Gastel, p. 238). The show marked the occasion of the birth of the Dolce & Gabbana label, which was destined to play a fundamental role in the history of Italian ready-to-wear. The designers showed full-length garments of stretch jersey, silk jackets, and oversize shirts that could be worn with casual sandals. The collection, characterized by fluidity and difference, soon found an enthusiastic public.

The Dolce and Gabbana Style

Dolce and Gabbana are considered the inventors of a Mediterranean style that draws its inspiration from the Sicily of Luchino Visconti's 1963 film The Leopard and the women of Italian realism, sensual and austere like Anna Magnani, to whom they dedicated a collection whose key element was the 1940s slip. At the beginning of their career, the designers also turned to Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, and Stefania Sandrelli for inspiration. The Dolce & Gabbana woman is unbiased and brazen, but fearful of God and devoted to church and family, an attitude typical of southern Italian Catholicism. A woman who simultaneously reveals and conceals brassieres and corsets, lace, lingerie, and veils, and who is disturbing in her impetuous sensuality-a provocative woman proud of her body. The designers' models are soft, round, and full-figured. "Dark girls with dark eyes evoke the women of the south-carnal, provocative, yet austere and proud at the same time" (Sozzani, p. 5). At a time when fashion saw women as executives in two-piece suits with padded shoulders, Dolce & Gabbana's first collection included tulle and angora, twin sets in jersey lace, and soft, wide, extravagant skirts. Their favorite materials were crocheted lace, wool, and silk.