The scandal that is Dolce & Gabbana’s racist campaign video, released ahead of their Shanghai fashion show (which ended up being postponed), has made the rounds on the internet recently. What happened was the brand released a campaign video for their Shanghai show in which a Chinese model struggled to eat spaghetti and pizza with a pair of chopsticks. Many accused the brand of tastelessness and cultural insensitivity.
However, things then worsened dramatically when direct messages, leaked by Diet Prada, were sent from Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram account, responding to the accusations with a slew of deeply disturbing and offensive statements, calling the Chinese an “Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia” and saying “From now on in all the interviews that I will do international I will say that the country of 💩 is China”.
The designers claimed the DMs were a result of their account being hacked: “Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating”. The damage had been done though, as the issue sparked condemnation and boycotts from high-profile Chinese celebrities, and many e-commerce sites like Net-a-Porter will no longer stock the brand.
Today, the pair have released a video apology in which they take ownership of their comments and promise to never speak in such a way again, before ending with “Sorry” in Mandarin. It’s rare to see from Dolce & Gabbana since they are used to scandal but, given that China is one of the world’s most valuable luxury markets, you can’t help but feel the video was made to repair the extent of the damage to their reputation and profitability of the brand, and not necessarily motivated by their remorse.