Famous high-end fashion brand, Dolce & Gabbana, was set to host a fashion show in Shanghai, China, when they ultimately had to cancel just mere hours away from opening due to racist controversies.
Dolce & Gabbana posted videos on their Instagram featuring a Chinese woman trying to eat Italian cuisine with chopsticks. The company claimed that the videos were their “tribute to China” as a way to promote their show, titled “The GREAT Show”.
The videos featured a woman in bright red sequin dress trying to eat with chopsticks as a narrator offered seemingly patronizing advice. All the while, stereotypical Chinese music played in the background.
Chinese netizens began leaving comments expressing their anger and frustration at how their culture was portrayed in the video ads.
- “This is how you show passion for China?? Extremely uncomfortable drama and voiceover. This is not art but pure racism.”
- “Wow, so you guys really believe that’s humor? And is it true that man usually teaches women how to eat in 🇮🇹? This ad is even lower than Trump. BTW, good job 👏 your brand are super “famous” in China now.”
- “I will never use things from them. RACIST”
- “🤮🤮🤮shame on you!”
The situation then escalated when an account, under the handle @michaelatranova, uploaded screenshots of an alleged conversation with the Instagram account of fashion designer, Stefano Gabbana.
After being accused of the videos being offensive and racist, Stefano Gabbana’s account replied back with more racists remarks, claiming that the Chinese were “Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia” and “stupid“.
Moments after,@michaelatranova’s account was blocked by Stefano Gabbana’s official account. Stefano Gabbana later announced that his account was hacked and that the messages were not from him.
“My Instagram account has been hacked. My legal office is working on this.
I love China and the Chinese Culture.
I’m so sorry for what happened.”
Dolce & Gabbana also announced that their Instagram account was hacked and that the racist posts were “unauthorized”. They emphasized their love and respect for China and its culture, but failed to comment on their promotional videos that sparked the controversy in the first place.
As the situation began to grow more awareness, models like Estelle Chen – a Chinese-French model – withdrew from the show. She uploaded an explanation from her side as she doubted the sincerity behind the brand’s “apology”.
“Saying that your accounts (both personal and official: Dolce&Gabbana) were hacked show how much of a coward you are. Could you please at least take responsibility for your behavior? Because I can tell you that no one buys that sh*t.
You thought you would make money by coming to China and by holding a show while being so disrespectful and racist? You got it all wrong because we aren’t dumb when you say you love China. You don’t love China, you love money.
China is rich yes but China is rich in its values, its caulker and its people and they won’t spend a penny on a brand that does not respect that.”
— Estelle Chen
Dolce & Gabbana ultimately cancelled their fashion show, but their original promotional videos have yet to be deleted from their Instagram.