BEARING A GRUDGE: Back in 2009 — a more innocent time, before “bunga bunga” and “selfies” entered the Italian vernacular — Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce had nice things to say about Milan. That was the year the city presented the fashion designers with its prestigious annual Ambrogino d’Oro award, named for its patron Saint Ambrogio. “Milan is not only our city and where our home is, but also the place that allowed us to make our dream come true,” Gabbana told WWD at the time. “Milan has given us a lot and we cannot be but happy that our work contributed to its well-being.”
But time flies when you’re facing charges of tax evasion, and the love story between the designers known for their Sicilian style and Italy’s fashion capital has long since soured. Last year, Franco D’Alfonso, a city council member, obliquely referred to the duo as “evaders,” and in response, Dolce and Gabbana closed their nine Milanese boutiques for three days out of “indignation,” threatening to return the Ambrogino.
Now, following the Oct. 24 verdict in Italy’s highest court, which found the designers innocent of all charges, Gabbana is not about to bury the hatchet. “We’ll give [the Ambrogino] back as requested,” he posted Oct. 28 on Twitter, subsequently retweeting dozens of supportive messages from fans.
In local media reports, Milan council president Basilio Rizzo has taken offense, saying that returning the Ambrogino five years after receiving it “would only be an act of arrogance toward the city that had honored” the designers, and that “had they wanted to give it back, they should have done so immediately, as a kind of self-protective measure, and now we would have given it back, with our deepest apologies.”
As they say in Sicily, acqua passata ‘un macìna mulinu: it’s all water under the bridge.