Domenico Dolce's and Stefano Gabbana's children's wear line is proving highly successful, with many dedicated boutiques already open and more scheduled to open soon. One is planned for Dubai, and at the time of going to print, details were still under wraps. We spoke to Domenico and Stefano to find out more.
LUXOS: When did you launch your children's range?
Domenico Dolce: We launched the Dolce & Gabbana children's collection in winter 2012.
Stefano Gabbana: Children's wear was the last piece of the puzzle missing in our plans to make the Dolce & Gabbana style unique and recognizable over time.
Domenico: We had been thinking about it for a long time. We wanted to complete the Dolce & Gabbana world and the children's range was missing.
Stefano: We put a lot of attention into the right choice of materials. It's not just a re-sizing of clothes but a completely different study on proportion, as kids need to feel free to play and move in a different way than adults. We asked our friends who are mothers a lot of advice before making the clothes, because we didn't want to make just a pretty product, but rather a product that was beautiful and practical at the same time.
LUXOS: From the campaign images, it looks like you are adding some ironic and decorative touches specially for your youngest customers. Do enjoy this area of your design work? Does it bring back memories of your own childhood?
Domenico: I had a very simple childhood, I grew up like every other kid my age. I was born in a small village in Sicily called Polizzi Generosa. My parents both worked. My mother had a shop where she used to sell all sorts of clothes and fabrics, but I would spend most of my time with my father, at his tailoring shop.
Stefano: For me it was my passion for clothes and a little bit of chance that drove me to fashion. When I was younger I loved watching my mother, carefully choosing which clothes to wear. She has always been an elegant woman who pays attention to details.
LUXOS: Do you think that children's appreciation of their clothes is similar to their parents'?
Domenico: The way a mother dresses certainly influences the style of their children; however, kids don't usually want to be told what to do, so in a way, their parents' style works more as an inspiration rather than as strict guidance.
Stefano: Before we started working on this project, we talked to many mothers, we wanted to understand their needs and what was important for them when dressing their children. They all said that beyond appearance, the clothes needed to be comfortable, practical, and at the same time high-quality and durable. Because children love to play, run around and throw themselves onto the ground, and if the fabrics aren't good, the clothes won't last! Also, we think that a child's wardrobe should be as complete as an adult's, with garments for all occasions, for playing, for school, and of course the important occasions.
LUXOS: Is your inspiration for the children's range generally the same as that for the main collections?
Stefano: Yes, the inspiration is always the same, for Men's, Women's and Children's collections.
Domenico: It's fun for the parents because it almost takes them back to their childhood, and at the same time it's fun for the kids for because they get to play dressing up with their parents.
Stefano: I always see our friends' daughters playing with their mother's shoes and bags, we like the idea of a boy or a girl searching through their parents' closets for outfits. This gives life to the collection...
LUXOS: Could you outline the inspiration for the fall/winter 2014-15 children's collection?
Stefano: "Once upon a time in Sicily," a dream, a fairy tale... We took our inspiration from our men's collection, influenced by the history of the Normans, and then we decided to continue to explore the period and we asked ourselves what other things had come from that time. The answer was "the Fairies." During the Middle Ages, and throughout the Norman period, legends and stories of fairies flourished. So we decided to create a fable, a fairy tale about beautiful Sicily. There are knights in armour, hoods and helmets... a world of imagination, seen through our own eyes.
LUXOS: Do you have to consider specific safety aspects when designing kid's clothes?
Domenico: We use only cotton or silk, as well as natural lining and fabrics. We are very thorough on this matter because you always have to be careful.
Stefano: Research, attention to details and fabrics, and the study of proportions are all fundamental for both children's and adult's collection. Quality has always been our priority.
LUXOS: Could you tell us something about the design of the new boutique in Dubai? Are there any particular kid-friendly features?
Domenico: We prefer not to reveal any details yet, it's very beautiful and very large, one of the biggest... we love to dedicate space to our children's collection.
LUXOS: Do you have to consider certain cultural factors linked to a market like the UAE when designing for children?
Stefano: When we design our collection we are not thinking of a specific culture, but when we travel we pay a lot of attention to different cultural factors and the traditions of each country. We always design classical and traditional clothes.
LUXOS: What is the growth of your children's fashion products, in terms of sales, when compared to other ranges?
Stefano: Our children's project is becoming more and more important. It's growing a lot and so are the collections.
Domenico: We have many openings scheduled over the next 18 months: Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Beijing, Chendu, Shenzhen and Tianjin.
LUXOS: Do you consider your children's range more of a brand extension, or an investment into the future?
Domenico: We can certainly define it as a brand extension. It complements all aspects of the brand identity.