Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana see themselves as a family.
The legendary design pair were previously lovers, but although their romantic relationship ended in 2005, continue to work with each other and say they now perceive each other in a different way.
Speaking at the Vogue Festival, Stefano said: ''We are in love in a different kind of way.
''He is my family. To see two men who aren't in love any more but who continue to make things - that's beautiful.''
He also explained that the designers both count familial love as a muse.
He added: ''Family is a universal sense. The family is a good point to feel love.''
Domenico also revealed the pair like to set the mood for designing sessions by selecting the right music, before they even sit down and start drawing.
He said: ''It's like a movie. [For each season each] we're like 'which movie should we go to?''
The design duo - who presented their first women's collection in 1985 - previously revealed they hire young people because the ''ignorance of youth'' is helpful when they are creating new designs.
Stefano said: ''We have been young, and we are mature men now, but we remember, we know what it means not to have support. So we appreciate, help and enhance young people. We have young assistants in their 20s, we toss them in the midst and they help show a different point of view. It's the ingenuity or ignorance of youth that should be heeded in every field because it helps you see things in a different light. We always ask young people for their opinion. It's very important.''