Dolce and Gabbana ad clash; pasta, pizza and a cannoli with chopsticks

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

Dolce and Gabbana has come out with an ad series for the Chinese market, “Eating  with Chopsticks”, but there is controversy as to how the ads target Shanghai and Beijing’s shoppers and culture. Who knew food and fashion could not be things we all could agree upon. The hashtag D and G uses is; #DandGLovesChina, but it seems like love is not in the air. There are three video ads which show a Chinese model, wearing a red sequin dress, eating spaghetti, cannoli and pizza with chopsticks. It seems as if the reference to the chopsticks and big Italian food plates are culturally mocking. A male narrator says; “is it still too big for you”?  and the female is seen giggling. The ads have been removed from Asian social media site ,Weibo, but are still getting views and comments on Instagram. Dolce and Gabbana have been no strangers to controversy, they have had ads that view in vitro fertilization as sterile and have sold sandals called “slave sandals”. Gigi Hadid was at a D and G show and was mocking Asian eyes and this did not present the best image for the clothing designers. One past fashion editorial showed D and G clothing in an impoverished Beijing area. The Jing Daily News reports that D and G have 25 retail outlets in China and many H.K. stores. Luxury brands total 500 billion Yuan or 70 billion dollars a year. Boycott D and G is now an issue, are these ads racist or just a playful way of styling clothing. As of November 21st, their upcoming runway show in Shanghai has been cancelled by the Chinese government, Asian celebrities are speaking out and items are being removed from shelves. The Mad Men TV style ad, refers to chopsticks being called small sticks .They tout an image of Italian food as big and grande in comparison to  delicate Chinese cuisine. The cannoli, pizza and plate of spaghetti is definitely larger than normal and the chopsticks would make it hard for anyone to eat food of this magnitude. Sexuality seems a big factor in the ad; with female subservience and male narrator asking; “is it still too big for you and “can you penetrate it”. The ad can be viewed as sexualized with food and fashion, a tongue and cheek preview for the D and G #GreatShow. Whether it was made to offend the Chinese culture and is perceived as racist, is a good question for the company and Chinese ad agency. In addition, Stefano Gabbana was said to have written offensive comments on Instagram about the Chinese eating dogs, slandering their intelligence and being in the mafia? He says someone hacked his account. The company has apologized and is in a public relations crisis. This was supposed to be one of their biggest fashion shows, now their reputation, business dealings and relations in a prosperous Asian market, is at stake. 

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