My feed has been flooded with nothing but Kourtney Kardashian, and her nuptials to Travis Barker. In a grandiose ceremony held in Portofino, Italy, the couple exchanged vows before their nearest and dearest, including their fair share of celebrity friends such as Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelley, and Mark Hoppus, to name a few. However, more than the ceremony’s lavish nature, spectators were also fixated on something else.
Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana played host to the “Kravis” wedding, dressing the couple and their entourage in custom D&G. The ceremony was also held in the two founders’ idyllic Villa Olivetta estate, causing much speculation about an exclusive brand sponsorship deal between them and the newlyweds.
Although later denied by the two founders via a spokesperson, one thing was made clear: Dolce & Gabbana is finding its way back from fashion exile, and their comeback is proof of how short the fashion industry’s memory truly is.
Has the fashion community somehow fallen victim to collective amnesia? Did the fashion house miraculously restructure and become more diverse and inclusive? Did we miss something?
Back in 2018, the Italian fashion house was called out for releasing a blatantly racist video campaign that showed Chinese model Zuo Ye attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks. After being publicly called out by Instagram user Michaela Tranova for mocking Chinese culture, Steffano Gabanna allegedly took the time to slide into her DM’s and message “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia”. Classy.
In the wake of the backlash from their campaign, they have since kept a low profile, seemingly struggling to win back their clientele, most especially the Chinese market.
CNN reports , “The fallout from the 2018 incident was immediate. Social media users filmed themselves destroying D&G products and mentions of the brand surged by 2,512% on Weibo, according to a report by research firm Gartner. The brand’s Shanghai fashion show was canceled just days later, and its products were pulled from Chinese eCommerce sites. Gartner reported that D&G went completely dark on Weibo for over three months.”
However, this wasn’t the first time the fashion house found itself in hot water for their controversial statements. That same year, Stefano Gabanna called Selena Gomez “ugly” in the comments section of a Catwalk Italia Instagram post. In an interview with Reuters a month later, Gabbana was asked about the future of Dolce & Gabbana, to which he responded, “I don’t want a Japanese designer to design for Dolce & Gabanna” without further elaborating.
Both founders expressed disdain for same-sex parenting in 2015, stating that “The only family is the traditional one.” Ironic, right? They later apologized for the statement.
These are only a fraction of their controversial statements, which although caused much public outcry, didn’t last very long.
“In my opinion, they just never left,” says fashion writer and designer José Criales-Unzueta in an interview with The Cut. — “They’re only getting stronger because they have a really good comms strategy, relying less on their founders and focusing on the celebrities. You don’t see quotes from Stefano or Domenico nowadays, which is what got them in trouble in the first place. Now you only really see them speak through celebrity and pop-culture moments.”
This brings us back to the Kardashian nuptials. Ah yes, Hollywood’s dynasty and determinants of cool have seemingly aided the return of one of fashion’s most outdated designers with no regard for their history and what they stand for. That, paired with fashion’s fickle and money-driven nature is exactly the reason Dolce & Gabbana survived, and will continue to thrive.