MILAN — Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana might be folding the D&G line, but only to incorporate it into, strengthen and expand their signature line. And they have a number of projects to jump-start this strategy, including the launch of a fine jewelry line this weekend.
“It’s all gold and unmistakably Dolce & Gabbana,” Gabbana told WWD.
The pieces will reflect the designers’ imagery, with horn-shaped amulets or reproductions of the Virgin Mary. “They have an intimate feel, they almost look like you could have inherited them,” chimed in Dolce. The jewels will be available only at Dolce & Gabbana boutiques starting in November.
Gabbana said he and Dolce had been mulling the idea of focusing on the signature line for about two years and were feeling galvanized by the prospects of further growing it by “working on its DNA.” The designer explained that customers will still be able to see the D&G logo, but only because it’s an abbreviation of their surnames. “Without taking the style into consideration, ever since the early days, we were always looking at the Chanel Maison as an example, one with one single brand,” Dolce explained. “We think that in order to work well, to be in the market for a long time, and to leave something after us, there must be only one brand and not two,” said Gabbana.
Having one strong signature brand will allow the company to reach a wider customer base and offer a more extensive product range, they maintained.
Dolce rejected the idea that the two brands may have created some confusion, blurring the lines in consumers’ minds.
“There is an enormous market for the production of lower-priced fashion. Of course, we would never downscale, but we’ve had pieces over the past year and a half that retail at around 450 euros [$616] in our stores,” said Gabbana, implying that they will continue to provide customers with more affordable items within their signature line as well. “Our pre-collection is also very large,” he added.
The designers said the D&G licenses will be gradually phased out and that stores will be reassessed. Licenses include fragrances with Procter & Gamble Co.’s Global Prestige Products division, and eyewear with Luxottica.
“We started this job 26 years ago, we love it, and our choices are instinctual, they come from our heart. This is a huge change, and some people may think we are crazy, [but] it’s an exciting moment for us, and we will continue to work as before, only with a larger umbrella encompassing our designs,” said Gabbana.
“We are very happy, this is not a closure, it’s an opening of new opportunities for us, simply with one brand,” said Dolce. “We are independent, it’s our own company and we have nobody to report to. We may have made mistakes in the past, but we feel this is the way to go.”
The company revealed that it was folding the D&G line during the brand’s fashion show Thursday, thus sealing it as the last for the label. In a statement, the designers said the move would give “even more strength and energy to our collections.”
The news confirms a WWD report in March. As far back as then, it was understood the last D&G collection was going to be for spring 2012.
D&G has been a significant driver of the company’s growth, but the decision could expand the scope of the signature line.
“We are going through a very happy moment of our lives,” said the designers in the statement. “To us, it’s like going back to when we began our adventure: full of ideas. We have a lot of new projects to start in the same way as many years ago when D&G was born. This is our new reality, and we are extremely happy about it…”
The company had increasingly invested in D&G since it terminated its 12-year relationship with IT Holding’s Ittierre in 2005, taking operations in-house with the spring 2007 season. The firm built a $48 million D&G headquarters in Milan, a 54,000-square-foot structure for the brand’s showroom, commercial offices and press offices, with specifically designed Ron Arad furniture.
But perhaps the first signs of the new strategy came in spring 2010, when the company said it planned to concentrate its investments in Japan on its signature brand and end distribution of the D&G collections there, starting with the fall season.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast