Dolce & Gabbana

Founded by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1985

Designer Biography Dolce & GabbanaDomenico Dolce was born Palermo, Sicily in 1958. With his father working as a tailor, his love for fashion is credited with this. Studying fashion at a young age, he worked in his family’s clothing factory. He then moved to Milan where he worked at a design studio. Stefano Gabbana was born in Milan, Italy in 1962. He became interested in fashion while admiring the designer Fiorucci. Gabbana went on to study graphic design at university and planned to go into advertising, however after sampling the career, quit and turned to fashion.

Dolce and Gabbana first met while working as assistants at an atelier in Milan, there introduction followed on to them starting their partnership in 1982, however they were still freelance designer for other companies at the time. At first struggling to take off, the pair created their own shows anywhere they could.

Eventually causing enough of a stir, they landed a slot in Milan Fashion Week in 1984. However, in October 1985 they made their world debut at the New Talent fashion show in Milan to critical acclaim. The next year they launched the Dolce & Gabbana women’s collection and in 1989 they opened their first boutique in Japan. Following this in 1990 they created their first men’s collection and opened their first women’s boutique in Milan.

In 1990 they both began to design the Complice line for the Genny Group, which had previously been done by Versace, they also added accessories, beachwear and fragrance to their own company in 1992. Expanding again in 1994 the pair introduced their diffusion line D&G for first men and later on women.

Catching the attention of pop sensations, Dolce and Gabbana designed 1,500 costumes for Madonna’s world tour, ‘The Girlie Show’ in 1993. They also designed for Madonna’s ‘Music’ album, dressing her and her entire ensemble as well as creating a backdrop for the tour.

In 1995 they published their first book, ’10 Years of Dolce and Gabbana’ and almost ten years later, they opened their first stand alone store on Bond Street in London, England in 2004. The following year, the couple who had been romantically involved split personally but not professionally.

In 2004 Dolce and Gabbana also started designing the uniforms for A.C Milan and most recently have partnered with Kylie Minogue to design for her Aphrodite – Les Folies 2011 tour.

Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana are known for their seductive, traditional styles. Both with different tastes, they’re known for their glamour, sexy styles and curves, sometimes with shades of Sophia Loren.

In 2005, the turnover of Dolce & Gabbana reached €597 million. The following year, the company expanded into accessories and leather goods for both men and women. They also entered the cosmetics market, with Scarlett Johansson as the face of their advertising campaign.

The following year the brand faced controversy when they released an ad campaign featuring two men kissing, which received criticism from conservative groups. However, the Advertising Standards Authority of Italy stated that they did not find the ad unacceptable solely based on the same-sex kiss.

In 2012, the D&G brand merged with Dolce & Gabbana to strengthen their main line. The final independent collection of D&G was showcased in September 2011 for the Spring/Summer 2012 season. Dolce & Gabbana received several accolades over the years, including being named the designers of the year by FHM in 1996 and 1997. They were also honoured as “Men of the Year” by GQ Magazine in 2003 and recognized as the best international designers at the 2004 Elle Style Awards.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2010, Dolce & Gabbana held a public exhibition in Milan that featured a room filled with televisions showcasing their collections from the past two decades. In 2019, Dolce & Gabbana extended their size range up to UK 22, demonstrating their commitment to body positivity and inclusivity for women, which was relatively uncommon among luxury fashion houses at the time.

In September 2021, Dolce & Gabbana made headlines by releasing their first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) collection called “Collezione Genesi NFT.” This collection, created in collaboration with the digital marketplace UNXD, consisted of nine pieces, including both physical and purely digital items. It was sold for approximately $5.7 million in Ether, making it one of the pioneering NFT collections from a major fashion house.

The company collaborated with designer Harris Reed for the 2021 Met Gala, where Somali model Iman Abdulmajid wore their creation. This collaboration aimed to spark conversations about societal injustices within the fashion industry and beyond.

Throughout their history, Dolce & Gabbana has engaged in co-branding initiatives with various Italian brands, including Baci Perugina, Fiasconaro confectionery, Barovier & Toso (a Murano glass company), Mian, I Dogi, Venini, Barbini, Salviati, and Tessiture Bevilacqua, among others.

Dolce & Gabbana Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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