MILAN — Dolce & Gabbana has signed a licensing agreement with Luxottica for the production and global distribution of prescription frames and sunglasses under the Dolce & Gabbana and D&G labels. The five-year agreement, with an option to renew for another five years, is effective Jan. 1, 2006, and replaces Dolce & Gabbana’s license with Italian eyewear manufacturer Marcolin.

“In every moment of our lives, we have always made the choices that seemed more natural to us, and this was undoubtedly one of the most difficult,” said the designers in a statement, as they noted that the 10-year experience with Marcolin was “certainly positive and fruitful.”

The designers said they expect the new eyewear license to help expand their company internationally, particularly in the U.S. and the Far East, which is in line with their overall strategy.

The first eyewear collections will bow in January 2006. Luxottica said it expects sales of 120 million euros, or $146.4 million at current exchange, during the first year. Under the terms of the agreement, the designers will receive an advance payment of 60 million euros, or $73.2 million, on royalties in January 2006.

Since it lost its lucrative Giorgio Armani license in 2002, Luxottica has steadily been building a new pool of designer licenses, with Versace, Prada and, this summer, Donna Karan.

— Luisa Zargani

This story first appeared in the October 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.