D&G was never as separate a line from Dolce and Gabbana as, for instance, Polo is from Ralph Lauren. Both D&G and its longer counterpart had fairly high price points, and the close similarity of the names was confusing.
These are just two of the reasons Dolce and Gabbana is citing for its decision to fold the D&G brand into their main line, in order to avoid brand “cannibalization.” The switch will happen in August 2012.
What’s interesting is that D&G was never a poor performer. Dolce and Gabbana put around $100 million into developing the line, and it wound up accounting for 45% of the company’s wholesale revenue, according to WSJ. However, D&G items were never priced as cheaply as originally intended. (The designers wanted the line to be competition for retailers like Zara, but D&G clothing generally costs around quintuple what Zara’s does).
Most high-end fashion houses create secondary lines in order to reach a wider audience, and of course, increase revenue. But despite the fact that D&G was often conflated with Dolce by consumers, plus it isn’t actually cheap, D&G managed to help the house’s overall bottom line without being accessible to many more people.
Absorbing D&G while other designers churn out diffusion lines is definitely swimming against the current. The WSJ notes that the change could, in fact, lead to more confusion, with consumers thinking the high-end line is now the low-end one (and not realizing the latter is just gone altogether). But if getting rid of the lower-priced line is a result of consumers confusing it with the more expensive one, it seems possible that in fact, the result will be that Dolce and Gabbana’s core audience might not even notice D&G is gone — which could actually be good for the fashion house.
What we’re wondering is whether the disappearance of D&G, rather than coming off as a failure, might add prestige to Dolce and Gabbana. Because of the switch, there will be a wider range of prices offered within the main (and, now, only) line. But while cheaper price points seem like they would detract from the brand’s stature, a $1,000 price tag is still a $1,000 price tag (in-season D&G dresses currently range from around $650-$1800). Second, and most important, there will now be a much smaller number of those price tags associated with the name Dolce and Gabbana. So if the only way to get one’s hands on a piece of the brand is through an expensive, single line, it could increase the brand’s cachet.