Dolce & Gabbana: A history

First published: 21-07-2014

Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) is an Italian luxury fashion house, which makes watches, clothing, footwear, handbags, jewellery, perfume, sunglasses and cosmetics.

It was founded by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and has enjoyed much success - to the extent that both individuals became billionaires last year.

The pair met out in a club while Dolce was working as an assistant to designer Giorgio Correggiari, although his dream was to work for Giorgio Armani. When Dolce met Gabbana, he was drawn to him, although these feelings weren't reciprocated at first.

However, Dolce helped Gabbana to acquire a job working on sportswear for Correggiari and as they began to work together, they started going out.

In 1983, the pair were no longer working for Correggiari but instead completing freelance assignments. They worked separately in their one-bedroom loft in Milan but decided to collaborate after a suggestion from their accountant to join forces under the name Dolce & Gabbana. And, the rest is history, so they say. 

The brand's first collection was showcased in the autumn of 1985 as part of Milan Fashion Week. D&G received its first international accolade in 1991 - the Woolmark Award for the most innovative men's collection of the year. 

D&G is known for its hallmark underwear-as-outerwear range, which includes items like corsets and bra fastenings, and bold, striking coats. 

Speaking about how they go about their job, the pair told the Biography Channel: "When we design, it’s like a movie. We think of a story and we design the clothes to go with it."

Quality is of key importance to the couple and they once said they would be happy if their only contribution to the fashion industry was a black bra, provided they were making "the best, most flattering clothes". 

D&G have been heavily involved in designing the outfits that certain famous musicians have worn on their world tours. For instance, the brand provided Madonna with an outfit to wear at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival for Truth or Dare: In Bed with Madonna. 

As a result of this, the duo worked alongside the Holiday singer in 1993 and created in excess of 1,500 costumes for her as part of her international Girlie Show tour, which promoted her album Erotica. 

The pair continued to collaborate with the singer into the new millennium, while they also branched out and designed the clothes that Missy Elliot, Beyonce and Mary J Blige wore on their tours. They have also worked with Whitney Houston and Kylie Minogue.

However, it is not just music where the D&G brand has received exposure. The world of football became a huge influence and in 2003, the menswear line was based on some of the greatest sportsmen from around the globe. 

In 2005, the fashion label experienced a turbulent period when Dolce and Gabbana ended their personal relationship. They continue to work together as friends and this has not derailed the hugely successful brand, which enjoys worldwide success and plaudits still.  

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