On Friday 20th April, the second session at Vogue Festival started with the incredible Italian duo Dolce & Gabbana.
British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman took the stage to interview Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana under the themes of Italianita’, Amore e Famiglia.
This interview must have been one of the most anticipated workshops by all those attending, especially for moi, since they are my favourite designers - because of the immense passion they show towards their brand, their ideals, their Italy, the culture and identity behind their brand and the truthfulness to their collections but most of all because of the the woman that they portray.
As soon as their name was announced, and I saw them walking on stage, I could feel my eyes water, I wish someone would have photographed my face or saw the feeling I had in my eyes, it was incredible and surreal moment, a dream.
Alexandra Shulman described the dynamic designer’s important relationship and their partnership, and on how they strived to keep the business going for so many years. She defined their brand as “glamour, sexiness, womanliness and Italian exuberance” and continued elaborating on their continuous faithfulness to love, family and their Italian roots.
Alexandra Shulman started out by asking them about how they met, how the brand and name came to be and how their relationship started. One could see the immense respect and love they have for each other from their answers. Laughing their way through they described how their business started with only one table with three legs and one sofa, and how slowly they started making clothes. The first collection by Domenico Dolce was called Donna, Donna, DD, Dolce & Gabbana in 1981 and from then on its history.
Stefano Gabbana described their collaboration as a ‘strange animal’ where Domenico’s job is tailoring with an fine obsession on details and his job is more on the image and how he always give the final touch to the collection. He light-heartedly elaborated about how one does his job on his own without the other, but without the other they cannot do their job because they ultimitely need each other. He said, “I take care about something and he takes care about something and at the same time he takes care of what I do” and suddenly giggles and laughter erupted from the audience.
The most interesting part was when they described how the idea behind a collection comes along and it was quite interesting to hear the duo speak. Stefano Gabbana described how the collection is like cinema, it is like making a film, and it has to be right so they find an idea, like the idea about ‘La Scala’ di Milano and the baroque concept. They mostly emphasised on how they have to find the right music for the collection because that is where the collection stems from. They said “we start to sketch the collection from the music, the perfection of the music” and Stefano continued by saying “We take inspiration from the song …”
Jokingly he said that “… finally when the fashion show is over, finally and I repeat finally it is the last time we hear the song.”
With Pavarotti’s ‘Funicula, Funicala’ in the background for the concept of ‘Famiglia’.
The concept of family for both of them is that it is their reference point and it is from where they draw inspiration. Domenico Dolce defined family as a universal word, something strong and something warm where you feel the love. He said that Italians especially in the southern parts of Italy, like Sicily where he is from, family is important and explained how Italians celebrate Sundays. On Sunday lunch at 1pm all the family meets up, the uncle, the auntie, the cousin, the girlfriends, the boyfriends, the children, the neighbours … and describes it as being picturesque and cinematographic.
From there they continued explaining, how their work place is their family especially Barbara who is number one, that is where family starts and it extends to 5000 workers worldwide. With a smile on his face, Domenico Dolce said that “we make this job a family” and he pointed out that if an employee works for them for 6 months, then from there its forever.
Domcenico Dolce interprets love as energy, love is power, it is the energy around the world, the sea the sky, love is honesty, love is about living life in a nice way. Then a baby started crying and he said, “That is love”.
The duo continued defining the word, according to them; love is a very difficult word to define. They continued withe how their relationship changed from being a couple in love, lovers and partners to just being partners and how now they have a better understanding and tolerance of each other. Stefano said that it does not mean that now that they are not lovers anymore, there isn’t love, love will always be there and respect never dies.
It was their countries turn … Italianita’ started with Pavarotti’s rendition of ‘O Surdato Nnamurato’ I… Monica Bellucci, architecture, churches, the blue sky and the sun, art, Roma, I uomini, la seduzione dei uomini, Il colosseo …
Alexandra Shulman asked the designers about how they see the future of Italian designers and fashion in Italy since they are practically the youngest, well-established designers in the country. Stefano Gabbana answered by saying “We are not old, we are not young we are in the middle” and he went on to explain about their concept multi brand store – Spiga.
Spiga is the promotion of around 23 international fashion designers in one store, where Dolce & Gabbana help in their promotion and recognition among the industry.
From Spiga 2 - Christina Crawford designs
When the floor opened to questions from the audience, someone immediately asked them how they managed to succeed. Domenico Dolce gave one advice, and that is to pursue your dream, to concentrate on one thing, something you love, something that comes from the heart. Stefano continued elaborating when he said not to look at something grand, at something big and he gave the example of Fausto Puglisi when the designer had asked the duo on how to become big and how he will get the most famous models to wear his designs. They told him “people want you and not the models, they want your designs then the rest will come later”. The best advice they could give anyone.
Unfortunately, the workshop was over before I knew it. The advice they gave everyone was to "believe in your work, focus on one thing, you need to be brave, be strong, and never stop because every day is very complicated but if you believe the day after will be much better" What came out of it for me was more determination to continue pursue my dreams and to follow one’s heart.
I am very sure everyone took something out of it and that is to just go for it.
Thank you Mr. Gabbana and Mr. Dolce, you are one of the reasons I am pursuing fashion.
The full interview is available on the British Vogue website: