By  on December 20, 2011

MILAN — Even though they’ve been building their company for more than 25 years, turning it into a $1.46 billion business, with a global retail network of 252 units and more than 3,400 employees, the definition of “boys” appears to cling to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. It could be their plucky attitude, as when they decided to fold the D&G brand into their signature line earlier this year. Or an emotional intensity that can drive provocative advertising imagery, ongoing celebrity connections and periodic Madonna fixations. Or their fascination with the fight game and their investment in one of Italy’s toughest boxing teams — not your typical fashion-industry pastime.

Whatever the perceptions, “the boys” are among the few Italian designers of their generation to sustain ongoing commercial success. As they map out their plans for the future of their brand, the designers seem ready to step into a more grown-up box. The difficult economy isn’t denting their gains, as the firm closed its fiscal year ended March 31 with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 284.8 million euros, or $376 million at average exchange, up from 262.1 million euros, or $393.1 million, in the previous fiscal year. Investments in their stores in the year ending March 31, 2012, are estimated to reach 40 million euros, or $53.8 million at current exchange, up from 25.4 million euros, or $33.5 million, at the end of March 2011, with four boutiques opening in the U.S., of which one will be on New York’s Fifth Avenue, four in China, one in São Paulo, Brazil, one in Spain and one in Berlin in the calendar year 2012.

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