Dolce Gabbana is to embark on a global overhaul of its retail network, starting with the opening of a new experience space in Milan on September 24th, just in time for Fashion Week 2016.
Dolce & Gabbana said the move will marks the end of the “concept store philosophy,” in favour of a new formula where “experience and storytelling,” is the focus. It currently has 222 monobrand stores across 41 countries, some of which will change to the new format and some that will remain as they are.
“The fashion system is going through an evolution. Many customers are travelling a lot, one day they are in London, another day in Milan… and if you have the same store in London, exactly like Milan, with the same clothes, it’s like déjà vu for the customer.”
“Customers want more than just goods — more than just clothes and accessories— and they long for experiences in different places, and a point of view,” he says, adding that the company’s new stores are a natural place to try new strategies that accommodate wider changes in the fashion industry.
The new Milan boutique – which stretches over 1,600 square metres — will open during Milan Fashion Week. Two floors are dedicated to its womenswear collections, accessories, fine jewellery and watches and one floor to its menswear. The space is designed to reflect the historical importance of the city and its Baroque surroundings.
Dolce & Gabbana will also open further experience spaces in St Barts, London, Brussels, Monte Carlo, Venice, Beijing, Los Angeles and Dubai — each of which will be uniquely designed to reflect its location and local customers, as well as providing a different perspective of the brand to international clientele.
Italian fashion brand said they stopped opening new fashion boutiques around four years ago, after Domenico and Stefano decided to rethink the format of their stores. For the new experience spaces, the company has worked with five architectural firms, including Storage Associati, Steven Harris and Gwenaël Nicolas’ Curiosity.
Designing each space was a completely different experience for architect Gwenaël Nicolas, who was commissioned to create the new experience spaces in Milan and Toyko. Nicolas, who has also designed boutiques for Fendi, believes more and more brands will begin to reconsider their retail strategies in the future.