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MILAN — Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have revamped their men’s boutique here — and it’s all male.
This story first appeared in the January 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The store now has a younger, more contemporary vibe,” said Dolce during a walkthrough of the store on Corso Venezia. “Products are more accessible, you can see and touch them more easily.”
Merchandise is visible even when stored away in drawers, enclosed by glass panels. “The store celebrates the rite of shopping for pleasure,” said Gabbana.
To further endorse such enjoyment, the designers redid the store’s layout, separating each category and even expanding the changing room areas to allow customers to sit on burgundy, oversize velvet poufs and discuss the looks. “It allows for almost a locker-room mood,” said Gabbana.
One prominent additional area is the “black tie” room, equivalent to the vanity room in the women’s boutique a few steps away. Rendered more private by velvet-padded walls, the area displays sharp tuxedoes and suits, but also underwear and silk robes. Men’s wear today accounts for 50 percent of Dolce & Gabbana’s $1.7 billion business and the designers plan to model other men’s stores globally after this concept.
The 10,800-square-foot, three-story store, which originally opened in 2003, is also meant to help expand the designers’ customer base and to allow shoppers to browse. “A kid who wants to try a pair of jeans may not feel at ease surrounded by tuxedoes, and he need not even walk through the formal area,” said Dolce. A wide-ranging selection of accessories is clearly separated and easily accessible.
Elements that stand out among the expansive black Murano chandeliers, stuccoed vaulted ceilings and polished wood parquet floors include lacquered displays and sleek walnut shelves. “I like the shinier look, it’s more luxurious,” said Dolce. There are also touches of Art Deco, with three-way mirrors and headless mannequins in full-length wood and glass cases.
“We want to create interest for every area,” said Dolce, who also underscored the importance of first-class service. “There is a warmer and more contemporary mood, but sophisticated at the same time.”