Dolce & Gabbana

It’s all about football for men’s luxury brands. What else to make of the fact that Lanvin just became the first French brand to joined the ranks of Paul Smith (Manchester United), Armani (Chelsea, plus the English national football team, twice), Brooks Brothers (InterMilan), and Dolce & Gabbana (the Italian National team and Lionel Messi, the Argentinian football player they dressed for so long, they made a whole book about him), by becoming the “official tailor” to Arsenal, the UK football club immortalised by Nick Hornby in “Fever Pitch”?  Read more

Forget reality TV; nothing has been more mesmerising than the Dolce & Gabbana soap opera of summer. I mean, first they were convicted of tax fraud. Then they appealed. But not content to appeal to the court, they also appealed to the court of public opinion, closing their Milan stores “in indignation,” and announcing they would be bankrupted if they had to pay their fine.  Read more

Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana may not have been in Italian court earlier this week when the judge handed down a sentence for tax evasion, but they were in London last weekend. The evening before the London menswear shows began, Dolce & Gabbana held a tailoring presentation at one of their Bond Street stores. To all intents and purposes, it was a catwalk show. Here’s what happened. Read more

Today Dolce & Gabbana confirmed rumours that it will create a small couture collection for the first time, to be showed July 9th to a group of clients in Taormina Sicily. The unveiling will take place far from the classic couture environs of Paris; the eye of the Chambre Syndicale, the governing body of the French couture tradition; and the fashion media. The choice is strategic for a number for reasons.
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As far as strange, opaque industries go, modelling is up there with espionage and rocket science: it’s a world built on image, and invested in preserving its mystery. Recently, however, two inmates (intimates?) have started to speak out about the reality, and what’s interesting is they’re not talking about the sex/drugs/eating disorders issues we are used to, but rather employment-law-type infractions: pay inequality, ridiculously long working hours, bad working conditions, and child labour. Read more

After Nicole Kidman, after Audrey Tatou, after Carol Bouquet, comes…Brad Pitt? Chanel has just announced the latter will be the new, and first male, face of their cash cow product, aka the perfume Chanel No 5, aka the one of the best-selling perfumes in the world — since it debuted 1921. Now, that’s a surprise. Mr Pitt’s appointment, not the success of the scent.

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The law passed last December by Mario Monti’s new technocratic government that limits cash transactions in Italy to EUROS 1000 and under has had some unexpected January repercussions on the fashion industry — or so I gathered at a recent, highy entertaining, lunch with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, aka Dolce & Gabbana.

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In the race to have the most connected catwalk — a race that has seen
Burberry sell direct-from-runway and Tweet each look as it appears, Dolce
and Gabbana live-stream the audience and the backstage preparations, and
every brand with a Facebook page host its show in real time — KCD, the
global publicity powerhouse, may have just trumped everyone. Today they are
announcing the “Digital Fashion Shows”, aka an “innovative information
delivery system”. Say that ten times fast. Read more

In the “can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-giant-branded-oak-tree” category I would like to nominate all luxury industry watchers (myself included), who have been so distracted by Burberry’s public assumption of tech-God status, recently met by Gucci, that they have TOTALLY OVERLOOKED the real challenger to both those thrones: Estee Lauder.

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Well, this is a shocker: today a digital think tank called L2 is publishing a study, “L2 Prestige 100®: Facebook IQ,” which ranks the high-end brands as “Genius, gifted, average, challenged, and feeble” according to who uses Facebook best, and out of brands that span the auto, watch & jewellery, fashion, beauty, and spirits & champagne sectors, Burberry, normally held up as THE most web-savvy, digi-forward company in the luxury industry, ranks…average. Actually, it’s number 49.
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Clothes issues can make common cause for us all. How else to interpret The Economist’s sudden interest in (and defense of) the Scottish Fair Isle sweater? The mag has taken up the cause of the Shetland knitters, whose signature snowflake designs have been co-opted — horrors! — by the high fashion industry without proper accreditation.  Read more

Over the weekend the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported that, two years after it began, the tax authorities’ probe into Dolce & Gabbana’s business has been closed, and the upshot is…silence from the prosecutors. Has the government decided they were wrong? Or is something more dramatic coming? The fashion world is on the edge of its seat!

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It never rains but it pours (and in Brooklyn, where I live, it just hailed). After the Gap on-line logo hoo-ha at the end of last week comes a report from the Stern business school at New York University and the think tank L2 entitled “Digital IQ Index: Luxury,” looking at how 72 luxury brands are handling themselves on-line, on their websites, social media, digital marketing and mobile apps. Guess what? They’re stuck in the mud!

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Today, Alexander McQueen announced it was taking control of its second line, McQ, after the current spring/summer 2011 collection. For the last five years since its launch, McQ has been produced under license by an Italian firm, SINV SpA. Its current creative director, Pina Ferlisi, will continue in that role, under the guidance of Sarah Burton, current creative director of the main line. This is interesting, for a few reasons.

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Something interesting is percolating up in Milanese fashion, and it has nothing to do with runways.

It has to do with things like “sustainability” and “long-term thinking” and “self-preservation” – also “procreation”, with emphasis on the latter part of the word.

To be specific, it has to do with the industry finally thinking about its own future, and the fact that if it’s going to have one, it has to start working on the logistics. Which means, at its most basic level, supporting young designers. Read more

So there I was, in my physical therapists office, waiting for my reconstructed Achilles tendon to be pummelled and pinched, when the receptionist started chatting away about fashion week. “I’ve been hearing about nothing else,” she said. “My boyfriend is in construction, and he’s been working like crazy on this renovation of the third floor of Tom Ford’s store, to get it ready for his first women’s wear show next week.” In this world, you never know where the leaks are going to come from.
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