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Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion's golden duo

From Stefanie Blendis and Gisella Deputato
  • Designers Dolce & Gabbana recently celebrated their 20th anniversary of menswear
  • Once partners in life, the duo have dressed some of the world's most famous celebrities
  • Fashion it's not a profession, 'it's an expression of life,' Italian designers say

Watch Revealed with Dolce & Gabbana at the following times: Wednesday, 21 July: 0830, 1630 Saturday, 24 July: 0830, 1700, 2030 Sunday, 25 July: 0530, 1730 Monday, 26 July; 0300 (All times GMT)

London, England (CNN) -- When it comes to "la dolce vita", no one delivers Italian style better than Dolce & Gabbana. The eponymous designers have created one of the world's most distinctive fashion houses, adding their style and flair to catwalks and dressing A-list celebrities.

Their curvaceous creations are quintessentially Italian, often inspired by the country's southern culture and its rich cinema history, and the brand has grown to become a multi-million dollar global enterprise.

Last June, Domenico Dolce, 52, and Stefano Gabbana, 48, celebrated their 20th anniversary of designing menswear with a glamorous show in Milan. An international crowd of celebrities flew to the world's fashion capital to pay tribute to two of the most influential designers of the last decades.

But for fashion's golden duo, anniversaries are not that important.

"We don't like to think a lot about the past, we don't turn our head to look behind," Stefano Gabbana told CNN. "I want to look forward, to dream forward. If you look too much behind, you die."

The two designers were romantically involved until 2005. After the break-up they continued working together.

Fashion is ok for five days, one minute, six months, but style is for the rest of the life.
--Stefano Gabbana
Video: Dolce and Gabbana prepare
Video: Dolce and Gabbana in Portofino
Video: Dolce and Gabbana's 20 years

"Everyone confuses love with sex, but they are two different worlds," Domenico Dolce told CNN. "A sexual relationship might end, but love never ends."

Dolce and Gabbana spoke to CNN's Revealed about their first steps in fashion, their fights and their often controversial campaigns.

CNN: How was it at the beginning when you started working together?

Domenico Dolce: We produced the first womenswear Dolce & Gabbana show alone. We organised it in one small studio, we didn't have money to pay the models so we asked all our friends to come. We didn't have money for shoes and bags so all the people used their personal accessories. For the curtain we attached the sheet I had bought for my house, but it was too short and beneath it you could see people's feet. And this is the way Dolce & Gabbana started. For me, this is one of the best times of my life.

CNN: In your work, you're designing clothes, but do you want to contribute more?

DD: When people connect with Dolce & Gabbana clothes I would like them to understand my honesty, my life, my love, my style, my point of view, not just my clothes -- that's my dream. I think when people buy my clothes they don't just buy a trouser or a shirt; people buy one mood, one sense of life, for me this is very important.

CNN: If it's only about clothes would you get bored?

I don't care about Domenico Dolce, I work for Dolce & Gabbana, I like people to remember my label, not my face.
--Domenico Dolce

Stefano Gabbana: Our fashion for us it's an expression; first of all of life, I put all of myself in my fashion. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but this is a mirror, an expression about Domenico and Stefano. It's not just a profession, it's a person with a lot of personality.

CNN: What would you say to someone who says "it's just clothes"?

DD: For you it's just clothes, for me it's not. When we sketch, the clothes are one "anima", one sentiment. When I touch the clothes I touch with love.

CNN: Fashion comes and goes.

SG: Fashion is ok for five days, one minute, six months, but style is for the rest of the life. This is what we need, we love, we work around this, this is why we started working.

CNN: How would you like to be remembered?

DD: It's a big dream -- I would like people to remember Dolce and Gabbana as an Italian, passionate, honest and "tailored" brand. Not just for the clothes, but for the style and the image. And maybe people would remember that these two guys -- one with no hair and one tall -- worked for this label.

CNN: Is it always happy working together?

DD: No, we have a lot of fights when we work together, because we both have strong characters. So, if I love one style I defend my idea, Stefano defends his and then we compromise because if we don't, then it's like it is my collection or Stefano's collection. Altogether we find a nice balance, that's important.

SG: It depends on the time, maybe one day Domenico feels red because he saw a movie or found a friend in a restaurant with a beautiful red, and maybe in the same day I feel white. The fight starts like this because I try to convince him to make it white and he tries and convince me to make it red. And maybe in the end we do it black. We have success.

CNN: Does being two help?

SG: For us yes, because we were two from the beginning. I cannot imagine my job without Domenico, I do it without him but I need him all the time and he needs me. We have to talk about everything, and maybe because we were born like this it's impossible to think of this alone.

CNN: Your campaigns are very famous and recognizable. Sometimes they've caused scandal.

SG: We never do this on purpose, we work for the campaign, we talk to the photographer, we discuss the mood and the inspiration and then we give him freedom and he shoots the campaign. Sometimes we are on set, sometimes we're not. There are people with bad, dirty eyes; if you want to see something, you see what you want in every place and this is why some people see scandal in the campaign.

CNN: Do you like giving interviews?

DD: No, I prefer my clothes, I work for my clothes. I don't care about Domenico Dolce, I work for Dolce & Gabbana. I like people to remember my label, not my face. I prefer people to remember tomorrow the big movie, the big history of Dolce and Gabbana. I'm one actor of this movie.