Domencio Dolce was born on 13 September 1958, in Sicily. Stefano Gabbana was born on 14 November 1962, in Venice, Italy.
Dolce studied fashion design in Sicily and gained experience in the trade from his father who was a tailor and owned a clothing factory. Gabbana studied graphic design and had moved into advertising after graduation.
Their fortunes changed when they both worked for the same atelier in Milan in 1980.
Dolce and Gabbana formed a partnership in 1981, acting as consultants to factories and thread companies. In 1985, they were invited by the organisers of the Milano Collezioni to showcase their designs in the New Talents forum, Inspiration for the collection included Italian actresses Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani.which led them to present their first independent women’s ready-to-wear show the following spring.
The quickly went on to be regarded as two hugely influential designers.
Adored by Hollywood stars the two designers went on to dress the rock stars of the moment who had elected them as their unquestionable leaders.
They became the designers of Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Isabella Rossellini, Kylie Minogue and Angelina Jolie, amongst others.
They once wrote: The Dolce & Gabbana woman is strong: she likes herself and knows she is liked. A cosmopolitan woman who has toured the world but who doesn’t forget her roots. A woman who indifferently wears extremely sexy guêpières or bras that can be seen under sheer clothes, contrasting them with the very masculine pinstripe suits complete with tie and white shirt or a men’s vest. She always wears very high heels which, in any case, give her both an extremely feminine and sexy way of walking and unmistakable posture.
And the same is true for the man. At his ease, he dresses for himself, a little hedonistic he pays considerable attention to details. He loves everything that doesn’t schematize him. He’s free and he’s successful. He can go to the office wearing an impeccable pinstripe suit or equally with worn out jeans and blazer. He’s a man who lays down the rules, he’s not subjected to them. Exuding charisma, he imposes his traditions by wearing the cap, the waistcoat and the timeless white T-shirt vest.
D&G began achieving awards in the 1990s and, in 1991, they were awarded the ‘Wollmark Award’ and ‘Best Fragrance of the Year’ in 1993. By the end of the 1990s it was reported that their sales were around $500 million per year. By 2005 it had grown to $750 million.
By 2009 that turnover had grown to over $1 billion and after registering a 20% increase in wholesale orders for the Spring Summer 2011 collection, even greater margins can be expected.
Dolce and Gabbana split as a couple in 2005 but remain as active business partners. The couple currently reside in a 19th Century mini-villa in Milan, with an apartment next door.