Is China Finally Done with Dolce & Gabbana?

    Dolce & Gabbana’s latest couture show in Venice barely made a whisper on Chinese social media. Has China’s anger at D&G turned into irrelevance?
    Dolce & Gabbana’s latest couture show in Venice barely made a whisper on Chinese social media. Has China’s anger at D&G turned into irrelevance? Photo: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana
      Published   in Fashion

    What happened

    The luxury house Dolce & Gabbana recently presented its couture show on an outdoor runway at Altamoda in Venice. It was attended by a live audience, which included a host of global A-list celebrities who read like a who’s who of the world’s richest and most famous personalities: J-Lo, Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, Doja Cat, and others. Over 400 guests sat through a 20-minute carnivalesque performance while the collection was shown by gondola. Famous offspring made appearances in the model lineup, such as Chance, Jessie James & D’Lila Star (Sean Combs’ daughters), and Leni (daughter of Heidi Klum).

    The Jing Take

    The controversial duo pulled out all the stops by showboating a variety of global stars, but any trace of China was conspicuously absent from the proceedings. Unforgivably, Dolce & Gabbana’s racist DNA continued to show itself, with fashion insiders like Louis Pisano publicly holding the brand accountable for its tokenist inclusion of Black influencers and celebrities.

    With a lack of authentic representation and a gaping China influencer-shaped hole, it isn't surprising that the outing failed to make local headlines. Not only is the label still recovering from its catastrophic, tone-deaf advertising campaign from 2019, but the physical show and its vulgar social rollout are also glaringly at odds with the anti-celebrity crackdown currently taking place in the country. In this context, there isn't any room for D&G’s ostentatious legacy.

    Citizens were angry post-scandal, but the company has declined even more in 2021. In January, singer Karen Mok came under fire online for wearing D&G in a video. Since March, the brand has been shuttering stores. In July, its 1 million RMB donation to the ancient Henan province failed to attract positivity — unlike similar contributions from Burberry and Prada — and even its August advert on Little Red Book’s landing page provoked an outcry.

    Recently, collective hatred for the designer duo has also meant that any online bragging with their products is attacked and quickly shot down. But this latest non-reaction indicates something far worse: that China's shoppers have moved on. They simply do not care anymore. D&G now has a worse fate on the mainland than being hated: irrelevance.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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