Stefano (left) and Dolce acknowledge the applause after presenting their autumn/winter 2005 collection at Milan Men's Fashion Week. "On a professional level we are still together," explained Domenico. "We have a very strong love"
Photo: AFP
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18 FEBRUARY 2005

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The fashion industry's hottest couple, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, have put an end to months of speculation by confirming they've broken up. The Italian design maestros have given a candid interview revealing that although they will continue to work together on the label they co-founded, their romantic relationship is now over.

"On a professional level we are still together," explained Domenico. "We work together wonderfully well, we have a very strong understanding. What happened in the past is still there, it continues and will continue forever. We have a very strong love."

He and his partner, who founded their eponymous label back in 1985, are currently living in separate apartments in the same Milan building. Their firm is now worth 350 million and counts Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Beyonce and Kylie Minogue among its fans. The inimitable Victoria Beckham is also a sworn devotee, making regular trips to Milan to visit the stylish pair.

Despite the fact they have both started seeing other people, the two men are adamant feelings of jealousy will not interfere with their relationship. "It's a question of sentimental education, of intelligence," explained Domenico. "It has not always been easy. We have lived together for 19 years. There is the passion of the body, the flesh, and then there is love, which is deeper."

Stefano meanwhile affirmed that any new beau in his life would have to accept the closeness between him and Domenico. "I am always very clear," he said. "I say 'look, I have this bond with Domenico. But Domenico and I work together the whole day and in the evening we hardly see each other'."

Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana