This is not Dolce and Gabbana’s first trip to the city; they were here two years ago and their current trip reaffirms how Dubai has become a market of importance.
Dubai’s fashion scene has been attracting huge international attention. Two weeks ago, there was Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), the region’s definitive fashion showcase. Stella Jean, the Haitian-Italian designer who is regarded to be Giorgio Armani’s protégée and a winner of Vogue Italia’s Who Is On Next, was one of the attendees at FFWD. And then, last week, British designer Roland Mouret was in town.
Guess who’s in Dubai today? None other than Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana! This is not Dolce and Gabbana’s first trip to the city; they were here two years ago and their current trip reaffirms how Dubai has become a market of importance.
“It is a city with a thousand faces, you can find anything you want, and it is a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis,” says Gabbana.
In 2014, Bain & Company reported the Middle East has the highest per capita spending on luxury. Dubai, the hub of the Middle East, is a big global shopping destination. It is, after all, home to the world’s biggest mall, Dubai Mall. But it’s not Dubai Mall that brings Italian designers Dolce and Gabbana to the city; the official launch of the new Dolce & Gabbana boutique is at the Mall of the Emirates.
The new store is Dolce and Gabbana’s largest space in the region; the two-level store is well over 1,000 square feet. It is also home to the UAE’s only ‘Made to Measure’ service for men. Naturally, the duo is very proud of it . as Dolce says: “The boutique in Dubai is part of a new way of conceiving and thinking the retail concept. When we thought of this new boutique, we thought about (combining the best of) the outside world and this country. The black marble with white veining is the main characteristic that stands out. The great golden staircase with fluid surfaces imparts (a sense of) movement to the entire boutique.”
As a brand, Dolce & Gabbana are relooking their retail concepts and have started a process called ‘The Retail Revolution’; the first store under this vision opened a few weeks ago in Milan’s Via Montenapoleone. The idea is that there no longer be concept stores – Dolce and Gabbana’s space will now reflect their local surroundings, not just follow a formula. Though the Mall of the Emirates store is not a part of ‘The Retail Revolution’, the store that will open at the Dubai Mall extension next year will be a part of this … and, no doubt, the designer duo will be back to launch this space.
Dolce and Gabbana are in town for the first time since they launched the Modest Wear collection targeted at the Arab consumer at the start of this year. The collection is now in its third season. Initially, some fashion commentators were sceptical – since Dolce & Gabbana is the design house famous for making the corset dress a fashion staple; others felt it was just a way to “cash in”. The duo, however, artfully translated their trademark colourful prints into abayas and hijabs, and the local market responded well.
Says Dolce: “For this particular collection, we have also added some evening-wear styles and designs for special occasions – like a long black dress which is soft until the ankles, with golden floral embroideries; we like it very much.”
It is a complete collection that includes accessories. Gabbana says: “We are also very fond of the accessories line we designed keeping in mind the abayas: the Lucia bag, shoes, sunglasses, and the typical head covering – the hijab – that always complete the look. There is also a new black abaya model with red roses and purple flowers applied on it.”