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.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)