Dolce & Gabbana: ‘Lockdown has spurred us to be inventive and resourceful’
The coronavirus crisis has upended the norms of
the fashion world, but Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana
believe it has encouraged them to be more inventive and resourceful.
With star-studded runway shows and in-person appointments now very
difficult, the pair say they have been forced to hustle, recalling their early
days in the mid-1980s.
Dolce, 62, and Gabbana, 58, spoke to AFP from an opulent Milan mansion
where a series of mini-films for their upcoming haute couture collections were
These videos, based around the theme of family, will be broadcast online
from Monday as an alternative to the customary catwalk show.
Q: How as designers are you getting through this very particular period?
Stefano Gabbana: “Domenico and I are two positive people, we’re not
discouraged by the fact that we can’t do certain things. But of course
everything is more difficult.
“But I have to remind you that when the brand was launched in 1984, we only
had three million lire (1,500 euros/$1,824). We made coats from fleece because
we couldn’t make them in cashmere, we made clothes in jersey because we didn’t
have the money to buy more precious fabrics. It’s a situation that can be
compared to today: we can’t buy this, we can’t do this.
“It sharpens inventiveness. When Domenico and I are under pressure, we give
our best. We love challenges.”
Domenico Dolce: “This is part of ‘Italian-ness’. We are truly 1,000 percent
Italian. In times of disaster, you have to be inventive, creative, don’t stop,
don’t cry over your fate, you have to react, with optimism, positivity.”
Q: The situation is complicated for the luxury sector, which this year will
see sales fall by more than 20 percent worldwide. How is it going for your
Stefano Gabbana: “Most of the work is done online. In some countries the
shops are open, like in China. In others, they’re not, especially in Europe
and the United States.
“We’ve seen 170 percent growth in four months in e-commerce, because
everyone buys this way. There is a positive side to this situation, we are
adapting to a new mode of buying, which was already highly developed in the
United States and South America.”
Q: How were you able to create this haute couture collection?
Stefano Gabbana: “We have all human resources in-house, the designers, the
embroiderers, everything is done in Milan. We managed to do it slowly, we
weren’t sure we could do it.”
Domenico Dolce: “The haute couture shows are usually planned six months or
even a year in advance… We asked ourselves: what’s important at the moment?
To do a classic fashion show seemed a bit useless, a bit sterile.
“In the beginning, Stefano was in favour of doing something, I was a bit
against it. I didn’t want to do anything, but he insisted. For us, this
collection was therapeutic. Maybe this situation that blocked us on one side
unblocked us on the other. We felt free to break the rules.”
Stefano Gabbana: “We’ve offered rather classic clothes, like a little black
dress, for more mature women… for the younger ones we broke everything that
could be broken and we rebuilt it, in a completely new way.”
Q: Has the crisis changed the way you work?
Stefano Gabbana: “We had too much to do (before), the pace was frantic, now
it has slowed down.”
Domenico Dolce: “There was this anxiety about doing things, of running out
of time. Now — and this makes us very happy — we have time to think. We are
back like we were in the years 1985-86…. We’ve rediscovered the happiness of
savouring our work.”(AFP)