Dolce & Gabbana has postponed its catwalk show dubbed 'The Great Show' in Shanghai after an outcry over racially charged comments on its Weibo and Instagram accounts that the brand is claiming to be created by hackers.
Despite the blame game, the controversial nature arose after Dolce & Gabbana published three videos on Weibo ( Chinese social media site) showing a Chinese model using chopsticks to try to eat a pizza, a cannoli and spaghetti. Initial widespread reactions thought “really D&G...really?”
Followers of the brand took to the social media airwaves over the racist portrayal by stereotyping both Chinese culture and Chinese women. Within 24 hours the video was no more on Weibo, yet still available on Instagram. And being the wonderful place the internet is #BoycottDolce began to circulate.
It gets worse...
An Instagram private conversation between Stefano Gabbana and the fashion writer Michaela Phuong was screenshot and posted by Diet Prada, an infamous Instagram account focused on reprimanding the fashion industry.
What the conversation entailed, was Stefano defending the campaign and that it should not have been taken down. Furthermore, he goes on to attack both the country of China and the backlash of Chinese commentators.
This was neatly followed up with a post from the fashion brand “Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating,” and apologised for “any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages”.
The additional comment included: “We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China.”
Major China celebrities that were due to attend all withdrew their acceptance upon the news breaking.
Wang Junkai, a singer in boyband TFBoys. “Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigour and beauty of our cultural heritage,”
Talu Wang: “Respect is more important than anything.”
Actor Li Bingbing “I love my mother country,”
In 2007, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority criticised the brand for a series of adverts which depicted violence against women.
In April 2017, it published a campaign on Weibo depicting Beijing as an underdeveloped city.
In 2012, Dolce & Gabbana was accused of romanticising slavery after it models wore earrings reminiscent of Blackamoor artworks.
How big is this for Dolce & Gabbana?
Dolce & Gabbana has shops in more than 25 cities across China. McKinsey reported that Chinese luxury consumers spend more than 500bn yuan (£56bn) a year, a third of the global luxury market. But despite the brand's outbursts, it seems the world still wants a slice of Milanese fashion.