Biography: Stefano Gabbana

1 Mar

Stefano Gabbana was born in Venice Italy on November 14, 1962. While it is hard to believe now, Stefano had no desire to enter into the fashion industry or ever even gave it a serious thought. His educational pursuits and desires for a future career were aimed towards graphic design. Actually by his own admission, he never even thought of fashion until he was about 15 years old, and then only in the sense of how it related to his own personal look, not in the sense of designing some of the most popular clothing and accessories on the planet.

In 1980 while working as an atelier in Milan, Italy, in addition to doing freelance graphic design work, he met his future business and life partner Domenico Dolce. For two years he and Domenico grew their personal and professional relationship primarily creating designs as freelancers. By 1982 they were decidedly a couple and had reached the point where their work was respected and in demand enough to start their own company, Dolce & Gabbana, also known simply as D&G. In 1986 he and Domenico made a formal personal commitment to each other as life partners. While there was no ceremony, it was an understanding between the two men that for all intents and purposes they would enter into a marriage-like relationship.

By 1989 they had numerous magazine covers to their credit, and a string of boutiques had begun dotting the global landscape, the first appearing in Japan. While Domenico brought much of the flash and color to the pairs designs as well as a strong technical knowledge of how to actually make clothes due to his growing up in a family that owned a clothing factory, it was Stefano that had a vision for what designs were actually viable and attractive to people of all demographics. It was Stefano that realized the real money in fashion design was targeting women first to build strong brand recognition and then branching out rather than doing a little bit of everything.

As 1990 rolled around and the success of the japan and Milan boutiques had become well established, it was then Stefano gave the green light on the launch of their first full mens line of clothing. While that initial line and each subsequent one sell well enough to stand on their own, it continues to be the womens line that keeps D&G in demand and provides the bulk of their profits. The business end of Stefano’s life is only half of the story.

In 2005 Stefano and Domenico broke off their long time personal relationship briefly at least, only to reconcile and split apparently for good in 2008. They continue to work together and remain very close appearing publicly with great regularity. While neither has commented specifically about the genesis or terms of the split that has not stopped speculation from every corner. Some believe it may have had something to do with differing opinions concerning gay rights and parenting that Stefano made that sent shock waves through the gay community. Others speculated Stefano had met another man, but this was never verified and most claims proved to be nothing more than sheer hype to sell headlines and were disregarded.

Despite the split and some of the fall from favor Stefano incurred from some LGBt organizations for his statements concerning gay rights, he remains very active in the community raising money and awareness in regards to HIV/AIDS related organizations and issues. While the personal pairing may have faded, professionally they press onward and plan to do so for a long time to come. While Domenico dreams up the designs, Stefano continues to be the the businessman and sounding board for all things D&G related.

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