In Which Dolce & Gabbana Act Like Idiots & What Will Longtime Supporter Madonna Say About It?

Some people do not know when to shut the hell up.
If you are familiar with hashtags, you may have noticed that the latest one making the rounds in #BoycottDolceGabbana. Yes, the renowned Italian design duo Dolce & Gabbana have put their collective foot in their collective mouth in an interview released last week with an weekly Italian magazine called Panorama where they declared that, as a couple, they are against gay adoptions. Quotes abounded over the weekend, among them:

"No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed."

Procreation “must be an act of love,”

and that children born though any method other than good old sex are “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Wombs for rent, semen chosen from a catalog.”

So far, a translation of the entire article has been tough to track down, but at this point, the damage has been done. Leading the swift response is, not surprisingly, Elton John who, with his husband, has two children conceived through IVF and launched the hashtag while declaring that he would not wear another stitch of Dolce & Gabbana clothing. Naturally, a barrage of celebrities followed, and before the weekend was over, the designers were on the backtrack trail with little success. On Sunday, the designers released a statement claiming that "it was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love," without actually apologizing for the insults.
Of course, it's hard not to glean a judgmental tone from the initial statements which echo a similar sentiment expressed by the designers in the pre-Twitter days of 2006 where they again expressed antipathy toward non-traditional families. It looks like the designers will be on Gay Twitter's shit-list for quite some time to come, but the question among many retailers who have devoted a great deal of floor space to the label is just how big this controversy will go and whether or not it will evolve into a John Galliano-level damaging scandal? Considering that the designers have a huge celebrity following including endorsement deals with Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell for fragrances and cosmetics, it is hard to imagine that an actress wouldn't think twice about wearing Dolce & Gabbana to a high profile event in the coming weeks.
While modern boycotts of massive businesses like Chik-fil-A and Target for proclaimed and perceived anti-gay bias have not really had much material effect on the companies, Dolce & Gabbana have a much smaller and more specialized business where it can be presumed that the designers have not just insulted many of their customers, but probably a good portion of their employees at many levels of their organization, not to mention buyers and members of the fashion press whose favor it is important that the designers maintain. Joining Elton John in admonishing the designers is a cavalcade of celebrities including Victoria Beckham, Ricky Martin, Courtney Love, Ryan Murphy and Martina Navratilova just to name a few, but notably still silent at this point is Madonna, whose early support in the 1990s gave a crucial boost to the designers when they were still a little known label globally. She has continued to wear their clothes over the years and starred in their advertising campaign in 2010 (pictured below). The designers' comments fly in the face of Madonna's longtime support of gay rights, and though the singer is currently appearing in ads for Elton John's pal Donatella Versace, it is hard to imagine her remaining silent about this, especially as she is in the middle of a heavy promotional schedule for her latest album and upcoming tour. It's hard to imagine the controversy ending before Madonna weighs in in some way, so, we're waiting , Madge.


Dolce & Gabbana Returning To SoHo

About two and a half years ago, Dolce & Gabbana shuttered the big D&G boutique on West Broadway as the secondary collection was folded back into the main line. They left with promises of a new boutique for the neighborhood that would be different from from any other Dolce & Gabbana boutique anywhere, and then we never heard another word about it —until now. Our friends at Racked are reporting that the designer duo has signed a lease for 15,000 square feet over four floors in a former firehouse at 155 Mercer Street (pictured below) between Prince and Houston Streets. Placed between boutiques for Zadig & Voltaire on one side and Marni on the other, the upcoming store will join what is probably SoHo's most designer laden single block that also includes twin Balenciaga boutiques, Versace, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and the back side of Prada. So far, the only word is from landlord Thor Equities, so there's no official word from the designers when the shop is expected of open, or even that it is happening at all, yet. Keep an eye out for this one. We would conservatively estimate a Fall '16 opening given the incredibly long time it can take to convert the aged buildings that make up SoHo's streetscapes, but maybe they will surprise us with an earlier opening.

Dolce & Gabbana Is Opening a Shopping Empire in Soho (Racked)


Dolce & Gabbana Will Not Go To Jail

Dolce-gabbanaFashion watchers can lay off the Designer Schadenfreude for the moment. Italy's highest court has declared that the designing duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are not guilty of tax evasion. This overturns two lower courts' verdicts and logically should be the end of the appeals process for the designers (although the Italian justice system does operate differently from what we are familiar with in the U.S., so who knows if this closes the case or not?).
Anyone who was picturing the two behind bars in impeccably styled prison wear will have to wait for the next high profile tax evasion case which shouldn't be too far off. Italy's post-Silvio Berlusconi prime minister, Matteo Renzi has pledged to clean up rampant tax corruption. He is obviously not afraid of going after wealthy and famous figures like movie stars and fashion designers, so expect more of these court cases as long as he is in office.

Dolce, Gabbana Found Innocent (WWD)


Dolce & Gabbana Expands Across Madison Avenue —For Kids?

Dolce & Gabbana has had an odd history on Madison Avenue over the past 10 years or so. First they had a sizable boutique there. Then they renovated it and expanded into the building next door, and then de-expanded back down after opening an immense brand palace on Madison Avenue last year. Now Italian design duo are on a growth trajectory again by taking over what appears to be the entire townhouse across the street at 820 Madison.

Once the home of a Baby CZ, a luxury children's boutique, and the Valery Joseph salon on the second floor, it now appears that the entire building between Jil Sander and Proenza Schouler is being taken over by the designers, and if the imagery on the plywood is any suggestion, they are planning... a huge children's store? While pricey kids clothes are no strangers to Madison Avenue, or even this particular address, two or three floors of them seems like a lot even for Dolce & Gabbana. We would have guessed that the brand might be following the lead of neighbors like Lanvin, Ralph Lauren and Bottega Veneta by opening a separate men's store, but maybe their children's lines are growing faster than we might have presumed. Details are scarce at the moment, but the sign says "Coming Soon", so maybe we won't have to wait too long to find out for sure.


Are Dolce & Gabbana Going To Prison?

DolcegabbanaWell, if Martha Stewart did it, perhaps Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will survive a stint in prison. In the midst of preparing to debut their Spring 2013 Men's Collection in three days, the Italian design duo known as Dolce & Gabbana were found guilty of tax evasion in Italian court yesterday and sentenced to one year and 8 months of prison time. The case alleges that the 2004 sale of the designers' brands to a Luxembourg based holding company allowed the designers to avoid taxes, and, naturally, the designers are expected to appeal.

So what will happen to the pair who have surely grown accustomed to enjoying the palatial rewards of their great success? It's hard to imagine the pair pictured at right pacing around jail cells for 20 months. Do they have the kind of "executive" prisons for white collar crime in Italy that we have in the U.S.? Will they design collections remotely from their cells? Will we see a runway show inspired by orange jumpsuits? Do they wear those in Italy? It's worth nothing that they are in good company by having problems with Italy's tax police. Lots of Italian designers have been targeted. In fact it's something of a confirmation of Dolce & Gabbana's status that they share with Valentino, Giorgio Armani and Roberto Cavalli among others who have all tangled with the tax police with varying degrees of success, but have gotten out of serving jail time either through exoneration or heavy fines.

Of course, how this will all turn out is anyone's guess. Italian courts are notoriously slow and function in whimsical ways that defy the kind of logic that American's are accustomed to in our own justice system. Just ask Amanda Knox.

Dolce, Gabbana Found Guilty (WWD)


Dolce & Gabanna Fifth Avenue Is Open

Over the weekend, Dolce & Gabbana quietly joined the Fifth Avenue Brand Palace club when the label's latest flagship finally opened its doors right next door to Giorgio Armani's own splashy showplace. Though the storefront is partially obscured at the moment by some particularly large scaffolding, it is, as we expected, mostly glass allowing for tall window displays. Inside, the general ambiance is grand with the pristine white marble we saw earlier this month covering the walls in sleek slabs. If the Madison Avenue boutique (currently undergoing its own renovation —again) is intimate and residential feeling, then this location is meant to be monumental with three spacious and lavishly appointed floors which should be just enough to hold the huge amount of merchandise produced by the label. Naturally, the place is swarming with super-cordial and eagerly helpful staff,which is to be expected after such a high-profile opening. We were only able to sneak a few quick shots, but visitors will find a mélange of the designers' interior signatures like huge tufted velvet ottomans, oversized mirrors with gilded rococo frames, enormous Venetian glass chandeliers and the occasional scroll-patterned damask wall panel. Downstairs, the men's floor (pictured below) is more clublike with wood parquet floors replacing the stone and giant steamer trunk-style fixtures, articulating the brand's unmistakable mix of the classically opulent with the sleekly modern.

Dolce & Gabbana's arrival on Fifth Avenue boosts Fifth Avenue's ipmortance as a showplace for European luxury labels, which makes us wonder when more American designers (Ralph Lauren?) will step up with their own, full Fifth Avenue flagships? (and, no we aren't counting Juicy Couture)

Dolce & Gabbana 715 Fifth Avenue between 55th & 56th Streets, Midtown
Works In Progress: A Peek Inside Dolce & Gabbana's Fifth Avenue Site


A Peek Inside Dolce & Gabbana's
Fifth Avenue Site

Perhaps to take their minds off the immense tax bill the Italian government has handed them, the designers behind Dolce & Gabbana can look forward to the lavish Fifth Avenue flagship that they will be opening sometime this year. The plywood scaffolding has come off the storefront, now restyled from its previous tenant, Escada. Though a view through the new glass façade is still mostly obscured, the contractors left the front doors open yesterday just long enough for The Shophound to get a glimpse at the construction inside. While there is still plenty of work to be done, we could make out a good bit of white marble on the floors and the walls, which suggests we should be prepared for a bright but rich and sleek interior when the boutique finally opens.


West Broadway's D&G To Become Just Cavalli, Not A Dolce & Gabbana Boutique

DolceGabbanaSoHoWell, we guessed, but we guessed wrong.
The former D&G store in SoHo is not being converted into a full Dolce & Gabbana boutique as we had deduced, but will soon re-open as a Just Cavalli store. Some may remember a lavish store for Roberto Cavalli's diffusion line on Fifth Avenue a few years ago that closed when the designer's licensee, Ittierre, ran into financial trouble and soured their relationship. The former D&G space at 430-434 West Broadway has been leased by Cavalli's new licensee for the diffusion line, Staff U.S.A. Coincidentally, Ittierre was also the original D&G licensee when that shop opened, but no longer has any affiliation with either designer. There's no ETA for the Just Cavalli store, and a peek through the tiny cracks in the window coverings suggests that no construction or demolition has yet begun, so let's conservatively guess that this one might appear in the Spring.

As for the reported Dolce & Gabbana SoHo boutique, which is expected to be a departure from the brand's standard retail template, no specific location has been announced, so that one might not appear for a while.

Between the Bricks: Dick’s pulling out of B’way (NYPost Second Item via Racked)
Retail Roundabout: Dolce & Gabbana's 5th Avenue Flagship Set For November With A Unique SoHo Shop To Follow


Dolce & Gabbana's
5th Avenue Flagship Set For November
With A Unique SoHo Shop To Follow

The Shophound has been wondering what was going to happen to the sizable D&G Boutique on West Broadway in SoHo (pictured above) now that the D&G label exist no longer. Currently it is dark, literally, with the windows blacked out and no indication that the space is available for anyone else to take. A report in today's WWD confirms that, among other of Dolce & Gabbana's upcoming stores, the label's long-under-construction Fifth Avenue boutique will open by November, and will be consistent in design with other of its boutiques. Going forward, however that may change.

“We are tired of seeing the same stores everywhere, all these designer stores, including ours, they look all the same,” Stefano Gabbana says, and so a reported upcoming SoHo location will be "completely different from any other unit,” according to one half of the celebrated design duo. We don't yet know what that means, or how long it will take, but we think it's safe to assume that the SoHo store will take over the prominent space formerly occupied by the D&G boutique. This will ultimately leave the Italian brand with three major luxury boutiques in New York, a store count which puts them in a league with Prada, Gucci and Giorgio Armani. It's a bit of a jump from one big Madison Avenue flagship to three, but the brand has successfully negotiated the road from hot, young label to Italian luxury mainstay over the past couple of decades. Now its only challenge will be covering all that costly NYC overhead.

FASHION SCOOPS: OPEN SEASON/Dolce & Gabbana Opens New Milan Boutique (WWD)