Stefano Gabbana loves Christmas. Every year on the December 24, he and Domenico Dolce, his design and business partner of 32 years, stay up until midnight to usher in the holiday. Later, on Christmas Day, the pair host a lunch for 25 or 26 – “children, uncles, nephews, brothers, sisters… we mix our families,” Gabbana tells Vogue. There is always a tree, hung with dozens upon dozens of mementoes, the result looking like “total chaos, a flea market.” Everyone is asked to cook a dish – and this being Italy, there is always a meat ravioli – though Gabbana usually cheats and buys something. “I’m not a good cook,” he confesses. “Domenico is very good.”
While only a few can enjoy the privilege of dining in famiglia with Dolce & Gabbana, this holiday season, shoppers in London can at least get a little taste. From November 2 until December 28, the designers are setting up an Italian Christmas Market inside the lacquered walls of Harrods. There will be a tree out front, decorated not like a flea market but in gold ribbons and colourful lights. The windows will be designed in the style of a Sicilian puppet theatre, with Dolce and Gabbana appearing in marionette form to introduce passersby to the story of the house.
On the fourth floor, visitors will walk into a replica Italian piazza strung with coloured lights. Booths will display a variety of goods, many designed exclusively for the department store, including floral and sequin-embroidered women’s evening dresses, festive men’s suits in striped lurex and silk shantung, and children’s ready-to-wear. Those on the hunt for gifts will find displays full of toys, fragrance, fine jewellery, shoes, handbags and other accessories. Dolce and Gabbana have even engaged a painter to personalise any Sicily bags purchased on site.
This is not the first time Harrods has invited a single brand to deck its halls for the holiday. Last year, Burberry installed “A very British fairy-tale” in the store’s windows, with items designed just for Harrods available for purchase inside. In 2015, the brand was Samsung.
“We put our personal [selves] in everything we do,” Gabbana says of this year’s takeover. “For me, Christmas is the tree and the nativity, friends and love and all of the most warming things… and now we are [bringing] it to Harrods.”
Scroll below to see a selection of the Christmas treats Dolce & Gabbana have in store…