It was supposed to be the biggest fashion show in the 33-year history of Dolce & Gabbana: a 360 look, 140 artists, an ode of an hour to China, seen by a crowd of 1,400 people full of celebrities and influencers local. Today those plans collapsed in chaos when the company felt obliged to cancel the event after a controversy ignited by chopsticks became a firestorm on social networks.
What would lead to this chaos was initially triggered by a post from Dolce & Gabbana on the social networks of a Chinese model who eats spaghetti, pizza and cannoli with a pair of chopsticks that some commentators interpreted as racist. This quickly became a firestorm on social networks, whose flames were apparently stoked by the company's co-founder Stefano Gabbana, something both he and the company have denied.
In a statement, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said: "Our dream was to bring to Shanghai a tribute event dedicated to China that tells our story and vision." It was not just a fashion show, but something we created especially with love and passion for China and all the people around the world who love Dolce & Gabbana 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. our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude to our friends and guests. "
Six months into planning, Dolce & Gabbana's "Great Show" was conceived as a love letter to a nation that has become one of its most important markets, accounting for 30 percent of the group's revenues. The company would not provide an estimate of the cost of the event, but several million dollars had been spent, at least, on a program that the co-founder of the company, Domenico Dolce, had declared to be a tax free of charge to China.
Speaking to reporters during the preparations for Monday night, Dolce said: "I think it is right today to return to true creativity, without censorship, there is too much censorship, for this, that's why … We love respecting local cultures It's important, we do a beautiful show in Mexico, then we do a show in Dubai … I love respecting local cultures, and Dolce & Gabbana grows that way because we experience different places, but not only for money, this is my new religion. My whole team is very nervous because we spend too much money on this, I do not care, I want to die poor … Money is used much better in life When you die, finite.
Even as Dolce spoke, surrounded by both Chinese and Italian tailors and seamstresses, the social media publication that catalyzed her abrupt cancellation was attracting online censorship. Published on both Instagram and Weibo, the commentary was interpreted by some commentators as degrading to the Chinese, as well as inappropriately hinted at. As Jing Daily initially reported: "In a particularly striking tone error, in the cannoli video, a male narrator asked the model" is it too big for you? " The publication said that a new offense was caused because: "the subtitle referred to chopsticks as a" little stick "tool while calling for great and tasty Italian food, which made many people feel that the brand is arrogant about their cultural roots. "
The post, published for the first time on November 18, was removed from Weibo but not Instagram. And it was in Stefano Gabbana's account on Instagram that some undeniably offensive and abusive comments directed at his Chinese critics later appeared. Shortly after, he claimed that they were not his, but the result of a hack. The official account of Dolce & Gabbana also published that it had been pirated and was investigating.
A Chinese model who had to walk in the program, who said he had been training for two months to prepare for him, said tonight that he had delayed as long as it seemed possible that the program could continue, as a sign of respect. . "I think it's a shame for both sides, I've never known that this happened before, Dolce & Gabbana made mistakes, and when the problem exploded on social media, they did not act fast enough to explain themselves. shame on them, and I suppose they will be news all over the world tomorrow. "