“All women are special for us, they are those creatures we all owe life to, they are queens by definition,” says Gabbana. Dolce, who spent two years photographing a select group of clients in a series of dramatic poses, agrees: “We want all our clients to feel special wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress: at ease, sensual, elegant. Our most important goal is to satisfy their desires.” Presumably, those desires include being photographed in their Dolce & Gabbana spoils in an opulent baroque interior, or alongside a rococo painting, in the Milan Alta Moda space or the London Old Bond Street store.
“Photography is an old passion of mine,” Dolce reports. “I have chosen to combine some of the portraits with 40 paintings by famous artists, representing the most fascinating princesses, empresses and noblewomen of the last five centuries, because they emphasise the feeling of being in front of timeless beauties.” The book contains images of extravagantly outfitted clients from Europe, Asia and South America alongside paintings by Titian, Anton Raphael Mengs and Vigée Le Brun (the favoured portrait painter of Marie Antoinette, no less).
One such client is Chrissi Boris, who started buying Dolce & Gabbana in 1992, in Hamburg. Her first piece was “a pinkish blouse with a huge collar, which I still have in my closet,” she tells Vogue. From October 1994 onwards, she has visited Milan several times a year on a pilgrimage to the Via della Spiga store. “I had heard from some other ladies who had been photographed, so I was not nervous at all,” she says, of the Queens portrait experience. “It was really fun. I came with my son, and the location was marvellous.” How did it feel to be photographed alongside so many other glamorous women? “For me it feels absolutely normal, because we have been very close with Dolce & Gabbana for such a long time and I have met very many great people over all the years,” Boris says.
The photography process also allowed the designers to conduct some market research while strengthening the obvious bonds they enjoy with their customers. “We love to spend time with our clients, to chat with them, to talk about the collections and everything else,” they say. “Over the years we have developed deep friendships, sharing experiences that have enriched us as human beings and professionally as well. We met different people and realities that allowed us to discover different sides of ourselves.” Queens is available in bookstores from mid-December, £265 (Assouline).