MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Dolce and Gabbana's next advertising campaign is likely to offend with a portrayal of men praying, say the Italian designers who had to withdraw an advert two years ago when it was branded as humiliating women.
Italy's most famous designer pair said photographer Steven Klein had captured the essence of their Baroque collection, taking inspiration from the film "The Leopard" -- about the decline of an aristocratic Sicilian family at the time of Italian unification.
"The next ad campaign will show men on their knees praying," Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa published on Tuesday. "For sure they will say we are offending religion. Instead it could be read as a return to values. And there is a need for that at this time."
In 2007, Dolce & Gabbana pulled all advertising from Spain to "protect their creative liberty" after authorities there called for an end to a campaign they said humiliated women.
One advert, which Dolce & Gabbana also withdrew in Italy, showed a bare-chested man holding down a woman by her wrists while other men look casually on. It attracted criticism from human rights group Amnesty International and a union in Italy.
The designers, known for their use of gold and silver in clothing, said in the interview they did not feel guilty about selling luxury items in a global economic crisis.
"We work on the aesthetic sense, we have to offer a dream and creativity costs," they said.
"To distinguish ourselves we need to make things that are not easily copied, so consequently they are more expensive. Not everything is for everyone," they said.
"We showcase crocodile jackets, made to measure, that cost 30,000 euros ($39,890). There are people who order them, about 30. That is better than selling T-shirts for 15-20 euros each."
The duo, who count numerous celebrities as fans of their sexy leopard print looks, said there were few style icons today, citing pop star Madonna and Victoria Beckham, a regular on lists of the best-dressed celebrities, as examples.
"People to emulate have gone. Only Madonna continues to remain a model to be imitated, the only one who knew how to adapt her style to evolving times," they said."
The duo who founded their brand more than 20 years ago, also said there was no right age for retirement.
"It is a question of mentality ... We can't imagine being older without working but it is right to leave our legacy to someone young, maybe helping them behind the wings," they said.
"There is a lot of budding talent but don't ask who we will leave our legacy to, it is still too early."
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Paul Casciato