LA CIVETTA April 2019 - Page 43


La Dolce (& Gabbana) Vita

I wonder how many times people have made that pun before. Regardless, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have managed to amass a long list of problematic scandals during their careers as designers that hangs over their heads like a sad cloud. In fact, recent events have shown that this cloud of controversy seems to loom over the entire Italian fashion industry and notably at such established and prominent houses as the aforementioned D&G and Gucci, making the situation even more dangerous. Brands like these have the power to shape culture. In fact, Fashion has this kind of effect as it touches everyone whether they are aware of its presence or not because we all wear clothes, and all clothes are designed by someone, right?

Think of the scene in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ where Miranda mocks Andy for feeling like she is above fashion and all its frivolity. Andy does not care about what she wears at all, but Miranda chooses to use the jumper Andy is wearing to illustrate her point. She tells her about the collections that would have inspired its design and the work that would have gone into designing and making it. As such, Andy begins to gain respect for the work that goes on in the industry.

This sword, however, cuts both ways because the universality of fashion and the way that no one is exempt from its touch means that these designers almost have a responsibility to be mindful of the messages they promote as they have as much influence on our culture as figures in the media and in positions of political power.

As such, it is so important for us to recognise when the people behind these labels say things that are problematic and to hold them accountable when this occurs.

Dolce & Gabbana are two designers who land themselves persistently in hot water for what they say and do. A few years ago, Stefano Gabbana landed criticism for appearing in a photo on Instagram from an “African themed” party, where he posed next to a man grinning in blackface. Although an apology was issued by the house, the incident raises worries about the true nature of the designers and the messages they wish to promote with their work. Their sensitivity truly is questionable, especially when we consider the sheer number of further controversies the designers have caused since this event.

In March of 2015, both Dolce and Gabbana found themselves in trouble again for comments made about IVF, stating that babies born through In Vitro are “chemical offspring” who are “synthetic” before later suggesting that they “oppose gay adoption.” These comments received criticism from countless celebrities including Elton John and American Horror Story producer Ryan Murphy who both insisted on boycotting the label. Again, the pair apologised but it proved empty when they had to be called out again... and again – yikes.

by oli bricknell