SHARE
COPY LINK

FASHION

Fashion label dies with us, say Dolce and Gabbana

Italian fashion icons Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said Thursday that their famed Dolce & Gabbana label would die with them.

Fashion label dies with us, say Dolce and Gabbana
Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

“Once we're dead, we're dead. I don't want a Japanese designer to start designing Dolce & Gabbana,” Gabbana, 55, said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The veteran fashionistas launched their brand in 1985 and continue to work together despite breaking up as a couple in 2004.

“When we split up, we said to ourselves that it was better to divide up everything, because if I took a blow to the head the next day he (Dolce) would have found himself dealing with someone not involved in the industry, like for example my cousin, who could ruin the business,” Gabbana said.

“We have created a trust neither of us can touch.”

Dolce, 59, added that the pair had refused “every offer to buy the brand”.

“You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not free, what do you do? You don't go to the grave with a coffin stuffed with money,” he said.

After decades building up their fashion house, which is famed for its sultry womenswear, Gabbana admits he “doesn't have time” to spend their fortune.

“I'm too busy working. I don't care about becoming richer, my goal is to be successful,” he said.

The two men said they still share an exceptional bond, even though they are no longer romantically linked.

“Even today, what is mine is his, and what is his is mine… our new partners know that's how it is, whether they like it or not,” Dolce said.

“If a love is born when you are young — for me it was the first experience, for him the first love story — it is pure, total,” he said.

The pair will head to New York for an extravaganza of haute couture events from 6th-10th April.

DESIGN

Inside the world of Italy’s designer to ‘the 0.001 percent’

Florence-based luxury designer tells of super-rich customers who shop by private jet, and his experience of dressing the Pope.

Inside the world of Italy's designer to 'the 0.001 percent'
Italian luxury designer Stefano Ricci (C) poses with his sons Niccolo (R) and Filippo, during a preview of his Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Photo: AFP

Italian luxury clothing designer Stefano Ricci and his sons are touring the sumptuous Reggia di Caserta near Naples by horse-drawn carriage as they unveil their latest clothing collection.

The tour the vast gardens at sunset, stopping to sip champagne as models in impeccably-tailored suits in grain yellow, flaming red and galactic blue pose near an ancient fountain.

The grounds of the Reggia di Caserta palace  near Naples. Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

The decision to host an intimate preview of their Spring/Summer Collection 2020 at the UNESCO world heritage site, rather than during Milan's frenetic fashion week, is emblematic of a brand the New York Times dubs “Clothier to the 0.001 Percent”.

The Florence-based menswear and accessories brand, founded in 1972, has outfitted celebrities from Andrea Bocelli to Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise, as well as world leaders like Nelson Mandela, and even Pope Francis.

The latest collection, which features pinstripe suits, colourful knitwear, field jackets and a tux, is named “King for a Day”.

Models wearing Ricci's creations. Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

In an era where designer goods can be bought online or snapped up in outlets, Ricci says he offers the world's wealthiest men a personalised experience in buying Made in Italy items created using traditional Florentine sartorial techniques.

“Our customer still needs to experience the emotion, to touch the product. Have it explained to them in person, see the tailor, have his measurements taken, be told a story,” Niccolo Ricci, the company's CEO, told AFP at the preview this week.

“He wants to be pampered for an hour,” he said.

Collected by private plane

“Sometimes we have superstitious customers who want trousers, a suit, shirts for example for important appointments, and given the extremely tight deadlines they give us to deliver the clothes, they send their private plane to get them on time”.

Whether hankering after a 5,050 euro suede jacket or a 1,600 euro silk-and-crocodile baseball cap, the typical client is an “alpha-male”, preferably an outdoorsy type with “a love of antique art”, according to Stefano Ricci.

Stafano Ricci. Photo: AFP

“The Ricci man loves the mountains, the woods, dogs and – I'm not afraid to say it – hunting,” he said.

The bearded designer, 67, a keen hunter himself, says his passion for high-end tailoring is “a virus”.

“When it gets hold of you, you produce more, more, more, until you say 'what the heck can I invent now to better this?'”

His latest challenge? “Creating a material which has a compact structure but is at the same time extremely soft… and luminous, not like polished glass but like the skin of a beautiful young girl”.

“No price limit”

Focusing on the richest segment of society in emerging markets like Russia, China and the Middle East – the brand is about to open a shop in Turkmenistan – has shielded it from factors weighing on sales at other luxury houses.

“We've found there is no price limit if the customer finds himself with a quality product,” Niccolo Ricci said.

READ ALSO: The richest Florence families in 1427 are still rich today

“So even for a suit that costs 25,000 euros, if the customer understands the work that has been done on it, the quality of the fabric, our commitment to sourcing quality raw materials for our exclusive collections, then the customer is on board”.

The 2018 financial year closed with a turnover of 150 million, and the company registered a five percent growth in the first quarter of this year “despite difficulties such as the tariff war between the US and China, (and) Brexit or no Brexit”.

Photo: AFP

“I have been lucky enough to do something I love, to work with my wife, my family, and I've now passed the baton to my sons,” Stefano Ricci says as he stands at the top of a vast marble staircase leading to the royal apartments.

“I design the collections a bit, I give guidelines, I participate in the process, but I'm much more relaxed now”

Among the highlights of his career is a white silk vestment made for Pope Francis in 2015.

“I dressed the pope! I can't do better than that, it's the truth,” he laughs. “I couldn't hope for more”.

READ ALSO: The little-known tax rule that's got the super-rich flocking to Italy 

SHOW COMMENTS