Dolce & Gabbana cancels major Shanghai show after outcry over 'racist' ads

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will no longer be taking a bow at what was slated to be the biggest fashion show of their brand's 33-year history, as the Italian designers have canceled the Shanghai extravaganza after a series of video ads promoting the event were slammed as “racist" on social media.

The trouble began on Nov. 19, when the fashion brand posted three video ads to their official page on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform popular in China, The Guardian reported. In the series of clips, an Asian model – sporting a glitzy red dress and heavy jewelry – playfully attempts to use chopsticks to eat a pizza, a cannoli and spaghetti.

“Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce & Gabbana’s “Eating with Chopsticks”. First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita,” the caption for the first clip – which is still available to be viewed on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram page – reads.


“We will be eating the traditional Sicilian cannolo, it feels like Italy but you are in China! GREAT!” the caption for the second similarly follows.

“In our final episode, we will be tackling the traditional Italian Spaghetti al pomodoro! Now even though you think they may be similar to Chinese noodles, there is a GREAT difference in the way you eat them,” the third caption concludes.

According to the outlet, Weibo users were immediately outraged, accusing D&G of patronizing Chinese culture “trivializing China’s culture” and “depicting Chinese women in a racist way.”

Though the video was removed from Weibo within 24 hours, the video continued to gain traction online, with the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana began to trend.

Some fashionistas even took to Instagram to express their frustration, sharing images of themselves cutting up invitations to the fashion show, and burning logo-branded sneakers.

Many celebrities and influencers from the show’s expected audience of 1,400 even rescinded their invitations, The Guardian reported.

“Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigour and beauty of our cultural heritage,” the management for singer Wang Junkai, a member of the popular boyband TFBoys, said.

“I love my mother country,” actress Li Bingbing similarly told her Weibo following of 42 million.

According to Vogue, Dolce & Gabbana’s swanky soiree – billed the “Great Show” – was supposed to be their biggest catwalk show ever. Featuring 360 looks and 140 performers, the event was slated to be a “one hour ode” to China, “one of its most significant markets, reportedly representing 30 percent of group revenues.”

In the days since, the designers themselves offered the following statement.

“Our dream was to bring to Shanghai a tribute event dedicated to China which tells our story and vision. It was not simply a fashion show, but something that we created especially with love and passion for China and all the people around the world who love Dolce & Gabbana,” Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said, as per Vogue. “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. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude to our friends and guests.”