THE designers behind the Dolce & Gabbana fashion house have been given a 20-month suspended prison sentence and face a fine of up to €10 million (£8.5m) after being convicted of tax evasion in Italy.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana pledged to lodge an appeal against their conviction on charges they have always denied that they hid hundreds of millions of euros from the taxman.

"We will read the reasons for the verdict, and we will appeal," said Massimo di Noia, one of the pair's defence lawyers after the hearing.

Public prosecutor Gaetano Ruta had asked for a two-and-a-half-year jail term. However, the two designers will have to pay €500,000 as a first instalment of a fine.