D&G in massive racism storm
Dolce & Gabbana has cancelled a Shanghai catwalk show after a huge racism storm over offensive content shared on the brand's social media accounts.
The fashion house initially posted a video on China's social network Weibo showing a Chinese model trying to eat pizza, cannoli and spaghetti using chopsticks.
It caused uproar online and was removed within 24 hours, but it had already been widely shared, with the hashtag #BoycottDolce starting to trend.
The designer Stefano Gabbana then appeared to make the situation worse by making derogatory remarks about China in direct messages to fashion writer Michaela Phuong on Instagram.
Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce&Gabbana’s “Eating with Chopsticks”. First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita. #DGLovesChina#DGTheGreatShow pic.twitter.com/62AAdbsGRT— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) November 17, 2018
The messages purportedly written by Gabbana said the Italian designer had never wanted to delete the video, and it was removed because of his "stupid" office.
"China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia," the message added, referring to China as "the country of (poo emojis)".
Screenshots of the conversations were posted on social media and Chinese celebrities vowed to boycott Wednesday night show.
"I love my mother country," actor Li Bingbing wrote on Weibo.
Zhang Ziyi, who starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, said on social media the Italian brand had "disgraced itself."
Pop star Karry Wang, an Asia-Pacific brand ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana, announced late on Wednesday she would terminate all cooperation with the brand.
Actress Dilireba Dilimulati, another ambassador, also cancelled her appearance, saying on Weibo: "I am proud of the best possible motherland. The motherland is above everything else!"
Model agency Dongfang Binli said all of its 24 models had pulled out of the show and put a "Not Me" tag on their profile pictures.
Supermodel Jin Dachuan said he would not take part in the show or any staged by the brand in the future.
Gabbana claimed his account was hacked and he never wrote the messages. "My legal office is working on this," he posted on Instagram. "I love China and the Chinese Culture.
"I'm so sorry for what happened."
The brand also apologised on Instagram and said the accounts had been hacked. "We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts," it said. "We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China."
In a statement from their Milan headquarters, designers Gabbana and Domenico Dolce said, "What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life."
The burgeoning Asian, and particularly Chinese, market is crucial to European luxury brands' cointuning success.
The #DGTheGreatShow was to feature 300 models previewing a new collection on a rotating stage, including supermodel Eva Herzigova. The final part of the show was to be dedicated to Asia, with Asian models and a front row of Asian stars among the 1000 invited guests.
With Dolce & Gabbana’s runway show in Shanghai cancelled after the exposure of racist DMs from Stefano Gabbana, who then claimed to allegedly have been “hacked” (swipe for DMs) what do you think this will mean for D&G as a brand? It’s long been rumoured that there could have been an upcoming D&G x Supreme collab, which looks increasingly less likely to happen. 🗣 - @diet_prada
A recent study by Bain consultancy said one-third of all high-end purchases are made by Chinese consumers, shopping both at home and abroad. That is expected to rise to 46 per cent by 2025, fuelled especially by Millennials and Generation Z teens.
Dolce & Gabbana has 44 boutiques in China, including four in Shanghai, having entered the Chinese market in Hangzhou in 2005.
Dolce told The Associated Press in an email interview before the controversy erupted that the designers had planned an "homage to China, to celebrate the country, and at the same time, to tell our story and love for fashion."
It is not the first time the brand has been caught up in a scandal for using stereotypes.
In April 2017, it published a campaign criticised for depicting Beijing as an underdeveloped city, and was forced to delete the post. The #DGLovesChina campaign showed models with rubbish collectors, taxi drivers and street vendors.
In 2015, the designers were criticised for calling children born through IVF "synthetic", adding that they opposed gay adoption and that IVF pregnancies were "chemical offsprings and rented uterus". Dolce later apologised.
- With wires