Dolce & Gabbana closes Milan boutiques as public protest

Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana closed their Milan stores over the weekend to protest at being “pilloried” over their tax evasion conviction, which the duo say they will appeal.

The designers, who were given 20-month jail terms, emblazed their nine boutiques in the Italian city with the words “Closed for Indignation” along with a newspaper article in which Councillor Franco D'Alfonso suggests that the label shouldn't be allowed to show its next collection in the city's open spaces, after stating: "We don't need to be represented by tax evaders”.

“We are no longer willing to tolerate unfair accusations on behalf of the Italian Guardia di Finanza (Italian Tax Police) and the Agenzia delle Entrate (Internal Revenue Service), attacks from the Public Prosecutor and the media assault we have been subjected to. Not only for ourselves but, above all, for the people who work with us,” states a letter released by the design duo.

The open letter continued: “We were born in Milan and have always been very grateful to this city. However, it must also be said that in the last 30 years we have given a great deal to this city: prestige and international visibility, jobs and economic development.

“Despite our passion and a sense of responsibility which push us to continue working with our usual dedication and drive, we are tired of being subjected to continuous slander and insults, which are detrimental to the serenity of our work place and distracting us from our work as designers.

“We are very fortunate to work with people who are gifted with rare excellence, both from a technical-professional point of view and from a personal point of view; they believe in us and this situation is taking away their motivation.”

The letter concluded with: “The closing of our shops in Milan is a symbol of our disdain.”

The Dolce & Gabbana shops were closed for three days from Friday, and the fashion label stressed that all of its 250 people who work for the fashion house in Milan were “properly remunerated” throughout the protest.