The Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana has canceled its big fashion show just hours before the scheduled opening on Wednesday night in Shanghai. Prior to the cancellation, a number of Chinese celebrities, including the company’s brand ambassador, Wang Junkai, had announced that they would not attend the show.
On Sunday, a short video was posted on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram and Sina Weibo accounts, which apparently was to feature the upcoming Shanghai show. In the clip, an Asian women’s model in a dazzling red Dolce & Gabbana gown uses chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian food.
Some Chinese netizens complained that the video was insensitive, especially because the model with a distinctly Chinese-looking face seemed so awkward to eat Western food with chopsticks.
In an Instagram chat session between user „michaelatranova“ and someone who manages the personal account of Stefano Gabbana, a co-founder of the brand, Gabbana allegedly made offensive references to China and the Chinese on Wednesday morning.
Dolce & Gabbana subsequently posted an announcement on their Weibo account: „Our Instagram account has been hacked. So also the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our law firm is scrutinizing the matter. We regret the inconvenience caused by these unauthorized posts. We have great respect for China and the people of China.
At the time of publication of this article, the video was still available on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram account, even though it had already been removed from the company’s Weibo account. On Weibo are screenshots of the dialogue in question.
Chinese Internet users were outraged, many demanded on Wednesday, the cancellation of the show. Famous people like Chen Kun, Huang Xiaoming and Li Bingbing said they would not attend. The brand did not provide any further details about the cancellation.
Around 1500 guests were invited to the show, including global media, fashion bloggers and VIP clients from around the world. According to Dolce & Gabbana employees, the event was not only the biggest in the history of the brand, but also bigger than the previous shows of other foreign competitors in China.
The event was designed to showcase several hundred Chinese-style looks to attract Chinese customers and show the culture’s respect for the designer duo, according to a Dolce & Gabbana PR staff member who wanted to remain anonymous.
It is not the first time that the company is controversial in China. In April 2017, it released a series of promotional videos and photos featuring Chinese models in Dolce & Gabbana dresses posing at some of China’s landmarks, such as Tian’anmen Square or Beijing Hutongs. Chinese netizens complained that all the locals pictured alongside the models were shabbily dressed and were coming from the countryside.