MILAN • The founders of Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) mixed checks, furry gloves and shimmering dressing gown-style coats last Saturday at Milan Fashion Week, branding it Italian oomph.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were making their first presentation after D&G was forced to apologise to Chinese customers in November last year, for posting on Instagram short clips showing a Chinese woman eating pizza, spaghetti and a cannoli with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive. The uproar escalated when Gabbana allegedly used poop emojis to describe China and hurled insults at the country and its people.
But the pair steered clear of controversy at their Autumn-Winter 2019-2020 collection named Eleganza, or Elegance in Italian.
The backdrop oozed 1930s Berlin decadence with giant red curtains, jazz and a master of ceremonies (shades of Joel Grey) re-creating the ambience of Cabaret (1972). But to highlight Italy's mastery of cloth, an atelier was also re-created with tailors and fitters taking measurements and cutting and stitching as the models walked up and down the ramp.
Models showcased quirky styles, teaming tailcoats with plaid trousers, matador suits with sparkling bow ties and a ginger velvet suit with black lapels.
D&G did not skimp on Hollywood-level glamour incorporating colours such as midnight blue, burgundy and deep purple.
Although there were some Chinese people at the show, Chinese online retailers are boycotting D&G despite a public apology in which Dolce and Gabbana capped a one-minute-30-second mea culpa by saying "sorry" in Mandarin in an attempt to salvage their reputation in the world's most important luxury market.
"Our families always taught us to respect different cultures across the world and because of this, we want to ask for your forgiveness if we have made mistakes in interpreting yours," Dolce said in Italian.
"We want to say sorry to all Chinese people across the world, of which there are many, and we are taking this apology and message very seriously," Gabbana added.
The Chinese-subtitled video was posted on Weibo, the popular Chinese Twitter-like social media platform where they have close to one million followers.