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Dolce & Gabbana

Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce, 2016

Image Courteousy of Renan Katayama

"... We saw a poster with a beautiful girl, in a balcony, naked, wearing only a shawl. That is when we knew: that is our image."

Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana established Dolce & Gabbana, also known by the initials D&G, in 1985 in Legnano. The brand has a diverse collection portfolio, including ready-to-wear, handbags, accessories, and cosmetics, and branding for eyewear.

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce first crossed paths in a Milan bar in 1982. They had previously created designs for the Giorgio Correggiari. They founded "Dolce & Gabbana" as a design consulting firm in 1983. They debuted their first women's collection in 1985. As part of Milan Fashion Week, the Geometrissimo collection for SS 1986 made its premiere alongside five other emerging Italian brands. For this collection, Dolce and Gabbana turned to their friends for assistance in finding models and accessories. Their stage curtain was a bed sheet from Dolce's house.

Donne Vere/Real Women was the name of Dolce & Gabbana's self-produced Woman FW 1986/1987 collection. The name of the collection was partly inspired by the use of local women as runway models. Since their first collection's sales were disappointing, Gabbana decided to cancel the fabric order they had placed for their second collection. When the two went to spend Christmas with Dolce's family in Sicily, however, their families volunteered to assist with their expenses. Incidentally, the fabric company did not receive the cancellation notice in time, so the fabric was waiting for them when they returned to Milan.

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The two each debuted a distinct knitwear line in 1987, then in 1989 they began designing lingerie and beachwear collections. The first to have a big effect on the Italian fashion market was their fourth collection. Dolce drew inspiration from his Sicilian background for this collection. Dutch model Marpessa Hennink was the star of the collection's advertising campaign, influenced by Italian films from the 1940s. In their fifth collection, they continued to draw inspiration from Italian cinema by referencing director Luchino Visconti's The Leopard.

The first "Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme" fragrance, was created and distributed by Euroitalia, in 1992 and in 1996, they became the first Italian company to ever receive the French Parfum Academy's "Oscar des Parfums" for best male fragrance. From humble beginnings, Dolce & Gabbana grew from strength to strength, and by the end of the 1990s, the company's revenues were around US$500 million and by 2005, their turnover was €600 million.

Dolce & Gabbana and Madonna began working together in 1993 to create the costumes for several of her international tours. Similarly, they created the outfits for Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, and Mary J. Blige's worldwide tours. The pair made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1999 to support Whitney Houston, who used the occasion to showcase the unusually risqué Dolce & Gabbana-designed costumes for her My Love Is Your Love tour. Through the 2000s, the pair continued to create costumes for musicians, notably Kylie Minogue's Showgirl Homecoming tour. The 2010 advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana also included Madonna.

Several other lines were launched by Dolce & Gabbana. The Dolce & Gabbana Home Collection was launched in 1994 and ended in 1999, except for the exclusive items made specifically for Dolce & Gabbana locations. The brand's more flamboyant, line intended for a younger market was called D&G. In 1989, the first women's beachwear collection was created, and in 1992, the first men's collection. D&G introduced a range of eyewear in 1998 and a line of watches in 2000. Separate from their Dolce & Gabbana lingerie line, D&G debuted men's and women's underwear collections in the same year. They also introduced the D&G Junior brand for kids in 2001.

They introduced their first color cosmetics range in 2009 with Scarlett Johansson appearing as the face of the marketing campaign. Late in 2011, Dolce & Gabbana unveiled an 80-piece collection of exquisite jewelry, including necklaces, charm bracelets, and bejeweled rosaries. They subsequently debuted a line of fine jewelry for men. The One, Sport, Light Blue, Dolce, Classic, Sicily, The One Rose, and the original scents "Pour Homme" and "Parfum" are all part of their fragrance lineup. Along with clothes, D&G also sold timepieces. To devote greater strength and energy to their other lines, Dolce & Gabbana chose to end the D&G line in 2011.

Dolce & Gabbana's unique style, can still be felt today in designs such as the new interpretation of the belikin shoulder bag in the form of a camouflage-print bear design. In 2022, Kim Kardashian showcased her design skills at Milan Fashion Week by working with Dolce & Gabbana for the brand's spring/summer 2023 fashion show.