MILAN — Ask Stefano Gabbana and he’ll tell you that fashion lately is a nonstop whirl of ideas, sketches, fittings, production, shows and deliveries.
That’s because Gabbana and Domenico Dolce are among the designers who are treating the pre-fall and cruise seasons seriously as they grow more determined to deliver their collections to stores as early as possible. For example, the Dolce & Gabbana summer and pre-fall collections are already sharing floor space in stores.
“We divide the season between pre-fall or cruise, the main collection and the runway, because the consumers want to see new merchandise pretty much every month,” said Gabbana. “You need an enormous structure to put out all these collections for men and women. Also, due to the [general] climatic changes, the only things you really store away these days are furs and heavy coats.”
With their latest cruise collection, seen here, the designers also are raising the accessories bar by churning out 150 styles of bags and 130 pairs of shoes, all appropriately matched to the all-occasions looks.
“We’ve had great feedback on our cruise accessories, which is one of the fastest-growing categories and one with lots of potential,” said Gabbana. Inside the designers’ Milan showroom, cruise accessories occupy an entire floor.
Gabbana added that now that they’ve taken the production and distribution of D&G, their secondary line, in-house, they want to structure it in a similar way.
The growing importance of pre-collections is further evidenced by the brand’s first pre-fall ad campaign. Steven Meisel shot the images in Los Angeles. The perfectly coiffed and red-lipped models are Bette Franke, Coco Rocha, Crystall Renn, Romina Soledad Lanaro and Lindsay Ellingson.
“The image is very that of up-and-coming actresses waiting for an audition. It’s very pinup, but in a glamorous way,” said Gabbana.
The ads have just been released in Europe and will break in the U.S in the July issue of W. The campaign runs through August.
But the focus on pre-fall and cruise isn’t the only thing going on in the world of Dolce & Gabbana. The designers on Wednesday night held a party to inaugurate a 3,500-square-foot store on the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes that will carry their women’s and men’s clothes and accessories.
The designers arrived in Cannes at the tail end of the International Film Festival, where they dressed Penelope Cruz in a custom-made, black-and-white floral number for the premiere of “Volver,” as well as Monica Bellucci. They will throw a party at the Hotel Martinez on Friday night.
For Gabbana, there’s an even bigger thrill at Cannes: the arrival of his new mega-yacht, Regina d’Italia, named after his grandmother. The 167-foot silver flybridge vessel, made by the Codecasa shipyard in Viareggio, will be docked in the port, waiting for the designers to set sail over the weekend.
“I’m so excited. I’ve waited two years for this boat, and that’s because I put constant pressure on the boat makers,” said Gabbana.
In the process, Gabbana obviously put in his two design cents. “I wanted the prow to be more streamlined, with a Seventies feeling, while the stern had to be lower,” he said.
Convinced that a true sailor wants to be outdoors, Gabbana commissioned an extra-large teak sundeck covered with black cushions, some in fur.