Dolce & Gabbana: The Cutting Edge of Italian Fashion
Dolce & Gabbana began in 1985. It is a relatively young house that has already made a big impact. Their corset dresses, in particular, have attracted the attention of fashionable stars like Madonna, who not only wear their fashions from day to day, but have the pair design clothing for their performances, as well.
The Perfect Pair
These two men are both Italian by birth – Domenico Dolce born in 1958 on Sicily, while Stefano Gabbana was born in 1962 in Milan. As with many designers, Dolce seemed to have design in his blood – he was making clothing by the time he was six years old.
Dolce and Gabbana first met over the phone when Dolce attempted to secure employment at the fashion house where Gabbana was working. Gabbana showed the new employee how the professional design process worked, and it turned out they worked very well together. They were split for 18 months when Gabbana was compelled to join the military, but once he returned in 1982, the pair established their own designer consulting firm.
At first, they made separate invoices for all their work, until a bookkeeper pointed out that it would be not only easier, but cheaper, to just work as one business. Thus was born Dolce & Gabbana, which would soon become a big name in the fashion industry. But then, they were just a small design house. They couldn’t afford models, so they asked friends to wear their fashions. They didn’t even have money for accessories, so their friends would bring their own accessories to wear. Their curtain was one of Dolce’s bedsheets.
It was a testament to their artistry that their fashion was so well-received. For Dolce and Gabbana, it really is about the art. They think of a story, and then they think of clothing that will go with that story, ignoring any trends or fads that may be out there. They were the minds behind wearing bra fastenings and corsets as outwear, the return of the gangster-style pinstripe suit, and the use of black as the universal color. But what they are known most for is bringing out the natural sexiness of a woman in a big way.
The classic clothing line, along with accessories, eyewear, and fragrances is under the brand: Dolce&Gabbana, deliberately spelled with no spaces, while their more casual and contemporary brand is simply D&G.
Their first fragrance, Dolce&Gabbana for Women, made its debut in 1992, followed by a men’s version two years later. Both of these fragrances received top awards from the Perfume Academy the years they were released. From the D&G brand came the Anthology series, each fragrance based on a tarot card, and represented by some of the most famous faces in the fashion industry.
The original fragrances were iconic 90s scents, and were discontinued at one point, but in 2012 the designers decided to return to their roots, and new editions of both Dolce&Gabbana originals were released. According to Gabbana, it wasn’t so much a remaking of the originals as a fine-tuning.
The women’s fragrance opens with neroli, tangerine, and raspberry. Its heart is composed of orange blossom and jasmine, and it finishes with sandalwood, marshmallow, vanilla, and heliotrope. It is a playful, sweet, yet romantic and utterly feminine scent.
Dolce&Gabbana Pour Homme (For Men) is the masculine fine-tuning of the original. This dry and floral fragrance opens with sweet and tangy bergamot and tangerine, mixed with neroli. The middle notes are pepper, lavender, and sage, for a spicy burst, smoothing out into a base of cedar, tonka, and tobacco.
D&G Anthology is a different concept in perfumes. It began in 2009 with five fragrances, each inspired by a Tarot card.
- Le Bateleur 3 (The Magician) was represented by the American male model Tyson Ballou. This inspires a sense of magical mystery with aquatic and aromatic tones.
- L’Imperatrice 1 (The Empress) was represented by supermodel Naomi Campbell. It is a fragrance meant to draw attention and turn heads.
- L’Amoureaux 6 (The Lovers) was represented by model Noah Mills. It is definitely a scent for romance, spicy and musky with tones of wood.
- La Roue de la Fortune 10 (The Wheel of Fortune) had two faces – Eva Herzigova and Fernando Fernandes. It is composed from notes of gardenia, jasmine, patchouli, tuberose, and benzoin.
- La Lune 18 (The Moon) was represented by Claudia Schiffer. Tones of tuberose, musk, sandalwood, lily, leather, and iris root comprise this fragrance.
The first five anthology fragrances were popular enough to inspire several more, much like so many projects from Dolce and Gabbana. Years ago, it was said they planned to retire at the age of 40, after making hundreds of millions of pounds in 1997. Luckily for the world of fashion, this did not come to pass. The pair celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Dolce&Gabbana brand in 2010, and they’re still moving forward today.