MILAN — Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have always focused on fashion and style, not management.
So said the designers’ lawyer Massimo Dinoia in a 90-page appeal of their tax-related conviction, filed this week at Milan’s courthouse. At the same time, Armando Simbari, the lawyer who assists Dolce’s brother Alfonso, also presented his appeal in a 203-page document. Both lawyers requested full acquittal of their clients, who have always denied all charges. A date for the appeal trial, which will be presided over by prosecutors who are part of the Appeal Court, has not been set. Prosecutors Gaetano Ruta and Laura Pedio, who were in charge of the trial held over the course of last winter and spring, will not participate.
In June, Dolce and Gabbana, as well as four other defendants, were found guilty in the designers’ long-running tax evasion case. Judge Antonella Brambilla sentenced the designers and accountant Luciano Patelli to one year and eight months in jail plus legal expenses. Dolce’s brother Alfonso, general director Cristiana Ruella and finance director Giuseppe Minoni were sentenced to one year and four months in jail plus legal expenses. The designers were acquitted on the second count they were originally charged with, which concerned the valuation of the company and the taxes paid based on that valuation. Dinoia argued in the appeal papers that Dolce and Gabbana “never managed, actually or legally, the Luxembourg-based Gado,” which Brambilla considers essentially a legal entity used to avoid higher corporate taxes in Italy. The designers had no management title within that firm, nor were they “directly or indirectly, involved in the activities of Gado,” wrote Dinoia. He stated that the designers deal with design and style alone, and only with “those issues that concern the image of the fashion house and the creation of products, while all that pertains to the commercial phase, such as the organization and the administration of the company structures concern other offices and individuals.”
Dinoia said the two designers were “light years away from the trading activities of products,” and were even farther away from the technical and legal aspects concerning the activities to protect their brands. “This not only since Gado was formed but from the first day the fashion house was founded,” he said.
Simbari said the direction the trial took was “a really sour morsel to digest.” The lawyer pointed to “enormous media pressure” and perhaps the “superficiality of the operators in treating the question.” He believed the case and the sentence were blurred by “prejudice,” restating that Gado was “effectively based and really operative since the first year” in Luxembourg.
The judge said that the only purpose in setting up a company such as Gado was “to transfer earnings derived by royalties in Luxembourg” and that they were effectively the “beneficiaries.”
There is little chance the designers and the other defendants will serve any jail time because the sentences are below the two-year minimum generally required in Italy to do so and because there are the conditions for a “conditional suspension” of the sentence.
Following investigations that began in 2008, initiated by the Guardia di Finanza, an Italian police force under the authority of the national minister of economy and finance, both designers were charged with alleged tax evasion related to the 2004 sale of the Dolce & Gabbana and D&G brands to Gado.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye