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.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
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With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)