How the partnership between Dolce&Gabbana and Sierra Blanca Estates embodies the attraction and exclusivity of a new milestone in the branded residential universe.
The launch of Dolce&Gabbana’s first ever branded residences in Europe has been the talk of Marbella – and far beyond – in recent weeks.
Design Hills Dolce&Gabbana, a new development by Sierra Blanca Estates, will see 90 large, lateral apartments – we’re talking up to 900m2 of indoor space, plus private terraces of up to 1,000m2, in the case of the biggest penthouse – span half a kilometre of Sierra Blanca hillside with panoramic sea views.
Since the launch party at Marbella’s famous La Cabane beach club in early September, which included many of Dolce&Gabbana’s and Sierra Blanca Estates’ priority clients among the 500 guests, 29 units have already been reserved – including the super-sized penthouse – and many have set new price records for Marbella. That’s before the properties are even released to the wider market.
Some buyers enjoy the kudos of being among the first. They are excited by the prospect – and the potential uplift – of investing early in something rare (these, along with a newly-launched scheme in Miami, are the only Dolce&Gabbana-branded properties in the world), designed by one of the biggest names in fashion.
Others, while also admirers of the brand, will view a prestigious brand’s involvement in a development as a hallmark of quality that will ensure the properties hold their value. A successful luxury brand brings an intrinsic sense of quality and familiarity that spells a secure investment. “We keep super up to date with what luxury fashion brands are doing and we are keen consumers,” says one Barcelona-based buyer in the scheme who is moving to Marbella with his family and, he hopes, will make his Dolce&Gabbana apartment their home in coming years. This development, he thinks, “will be the most impressive development ever built in Europe, with unparalleled quality and designed under the close supervision of Dolce&Gabbana”.
There is also a confidence among wealthy, international buyers that here is a scheme that offers a level of design excellence, amenities and lifestyle that has never been seen before in Marbella. “Finally, a project that meets all my requirements,” commented one British buyer, won over by the prospect of having a new 500m2 home, all set on one level, and every facility you could want on tap.
But building a successful branded development isn’t about simply parading a famous logo on the walls. An A-list location is a must, which Design Hills Dolce&Gabbana has on Marbella’s prestigious Golden Mile. A number of other branded developments are being marketed on the Costa del Sol currently, in collaboration with luxury fashion and car names, but it remains to be seen in some cases whether a famous name is enough to turn a secondary location into a prime one.
“Marbella has a high concentration of people who are successful on a global level. It has a great year-round climate, spectacular, world-famous restaurants such as Nobu, Cipriani and Leña. The people are welcoming, making it an easy place to integrate, and you find all the best brands here,” comments the Barcelonan buyer.
And while branded residences are one of the fastest-growing spheres in luxury property globally, they vary hugely in just how involved the brand really is. A faceless company brings little to the experience or investment.
But at the launch of Design Hills, Domenico Dolce, one half of the world-famous design duo, who has been personally hands on with every detail of the project since day one, was there to chat to prospective buyers.
They could see the renders, touch the different types of marble, and ask the design visionary what it’s all about. By being an owner here, they effectively become part of a club that will continually offer one-off VIP experiences. And it’s that kind of rarefied, personalised experience that is as important to investors in a branded development as the property itself.
Dolce&Gabbana’s foray into branded residences also required the right developer to turn their design DNA into bricks and mortar. Reputation is key, of course, and Sierra Blanca Estates has a proven track record of delivering super-prime homes in Marbella since 1985.
Two other ingredients ensured that Dolce&Gabbana and Sierra Blanca Estates formed an instant and lasting bond. “The first is family,” explains Domenico’s brother, Alfonso, the company’s CEO, who found property partners with shared values in Sierra Blanca Estates, run by Pedro Rodriguez and his sons Carlos and Luis. “The other is passion,” Alfonso adds.
For the Barcelonan buyer, it is a synergy that works. “Sierra Blanca Estates’ fusion of apartments and brands is a total success. The Rodriguez family’s vision stems from many years of analysing international markets such as Miami, where branded residence schemes already exist,” he says.
“I feel total peace of mind with a brand like Sierra Blanca, who have many years of experience, the best location on Marbella’s Golden Mile and with the highest level of design quality and finishings by Dolce&Gabbana. I have total confidence that this combination of brands will result in a huge success.”