MILAN — Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the Italian fashion designers whose sensual creations are worn by the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and Madonna, are accustomed to attracting lots of publicity. But now the celebrity duo, caught up in a major tax evasion investigation, are facing a less welcome form of attention. Accused of defrauding the Italian revenue agency and failing to pay taxes on more than $1 billion in income, they are expected to be told Friday by a judge in Milan whether prosecutors have gathered enough evidence to warrant a criminal trial.
So far, the case has generated remarkably little fanfare in Italy, a country where tax evasion is regarded by many people, including some in the fashion world, as a national sport.
And the designers are doing everything they can to keep it quiet. When the investigation first leaked in May 2009, Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana vehemently denied the charges. Since then, after hiring some very high-profile lawyers, they have refused to discuss the case.