"Over the years, Stefano and I have worked with many great names – from Newton to Klein, Lindbergh, Ferri, Scianna, Demarchelier, Barbieri and Meisel. Watching them at work, I realised that a photograph is not in the camera but in the photographer’s mind."
From the book 'CAMPIONI' Domenico Dolce describes in his own words: football, fashion and photography.
"I was sitting on the steps of my mother’s shop in Sicily. At seven years old, I was a quiet child and I sat there daydreaming, creating a mental picture gallery. It is something I have always done since a young age, conjuring up places and things I have never seen. Some people probably thought I was odd, so detached and withdrawn, but it was my way of focusing on the future and what I had already decided – that I wanted a different life which Polizzi Generosa, where I was born, could not give me.
So, there I sat on the steps dreaming about my future with my eyes wide open, the gateway to my imagination. Looking back, I have always seen the eyes as being like the mouth – in need of sustenance. And pictures are that sustenance."
I was eight when I first came across football. It was the mid-1960s and some of my father’s customers were Polizzi footballers. Fine young men with statuesque physiques and the joyful vigour of youth and friendship. One day, they came into the workshop for tailor-made suits and that was the first time I was touched by a certain type of male beauty. They wore clean-cut trousers with no pleats like James Bond, in lightweight fabrics such as mohair, light wool… The colours ranged from beige to light grey and pale green. That day, as they admired themselves in the three-way mirror, was when I first understood the meaning of the word “sexy”. I also realised that football was to be my beloved sport. A sport that is synonymous with democracy, magnetism and friendship.
I started going to Polizzi matches. Those were the years of Helenio Herrera and victories in the Champions League. We toured the Madonie mountains to see the team play against nearby towns: Castellana, Petralia Soprana, Petralia Sottana, Ganci, Alimena, Bompietro… The most amazing and exciting transfers. That is when I understood the strength that lies behind a player’s move, a team’s assertion and its values. I went with my father’s workers in their cars, mad supporters like me. We had the flags, the banners. Together on the edge of the pitch, we too were a team and suffered for the Polizzi lads just as much as I suffer for the national team today."
Football has been with me all these years and I have been with it. A strong combination based on the knowledge that it really is a democratic sport. It is not an expensive sport, all you need is a ball, some space and a dozen or so children… and hey presto! Everyone gets inside a name, their own legend. My Italian football legends have been Roberto Boninsegna, Gigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola and Paolo Rossi. A beautiful generation – as beautiful as our 1982 team, also World Champions. I remember Antonio Cabrini who looked like an angel.
Over the years, Stefano and I have worked with many great names – from Newton to Klein, Lindbergh, Ferri, Scianna, Demarchelier, Barbieri and Meisel. Watching them at work, I realised that a photograph is not in the camera but in the photographer’s mind. It is not the lens or the technique. You have to have the photograph in your mind and in your eyes. You have to dream it. The camera is only a means of transition from the mind (but I would say more, from the heart) to the paper. So I decided to take the photographs remaining who I am. I invented a story about each young man before me, as Stefano and I do when we create our collections. In this case, they were boys aged 15 to 24, the future of our football and remarkable young men who let me scrutinise them and played the photographic game. I worked against a white backdrop in a clean, simple style. I wanted to bring out the personality of the talent I was portraying and I knew that would bring an added difficulty. Accustomed to watching the great photographers who produce our advertising campaigns, I knew that the first requirement of a fashion photograph is to show off the product. Instead, I was working on portraits and so had a specific duty. My photograph had to speak to the heart and touch the secret self of the subject and those looking at it. A part of them that has just one key – love, and I have plenty of love for fashion, football, photography and for life."