D&G unveil Italian oomph at Milan after China fiasco; Versace offers daring masculinity
Dolce and Gabbana mixed checks, furry gloves and shimmering dressing gown-style coats on Saturday at Milan Fashion Week, branding it Italian oomph. The Sicilian duo were making their first presentation after the fashion house was forced to apologize to Chinese customers in November 2018 for posting short clips on Instagram showing a Chinese woman eating pizza, spaghetti and a cannoli with chopsticks.
The uproar escalated when Stefano 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!) recreating a Cabaret ambience. But to highlight Italy’s mastery of cloth, an atelier was also recreated 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 the lame Hollywood-level glamour incorporating colors
such as midnight blue, burgundy and deep purple.
‘We made mistakes’
Although there were some Chinese people at the show, Chinese online retailers are boycotting D&G despite a public apology in which Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana capped a 1 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. The controversy marked the latest backpedalling by a foreign company for offending Chinese consumers or authorities. Earlier in 2018, German automaker Mercedes-Benz apologised for “hurting the feelings” of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing.
And under pressure from Beijing, a growing number of international airlines and companies have edited their websites to refer to the self-ruling democratic island of Taiwan as “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei”. Hotel chain Marriott’s website in China was also shut down by the authorities for a week in 2018 after a customer questionnaire listed Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries, prompting the hotel chain to apologize and change the wording. By now, the two Milan Fashion Weeks dedicated to menswear have transformed themselves into platforms for co-ed shows and up-and-coming brands beyond the menswear stalwarts.
The little more than three days of previews for next fall and winter that launched Friday evening include 52 collections in 27 runway shows and 25 presentations. Eleven brands are showing mixed men’s and women’s collections during the less hectic week dedicated to male apparel. While menswear tends to create less of a spectacle than the womenswear shows, the lines still carry bottom-line weight. Italian menswear registered a turnover of 9.5 billion euros last year, a 1.5 percent increase over 2017.
Models present creations for fashion house Versace during the Men’s Fall/Winter 2019/20 fashion shows in Milan.