Dolce & Gabbana show in Shanghai cancelled after offensive ad campaign

The first fashion show in Shanghai for Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana was cancelled by China’s Cultural and Tourism department in the wake of a controversy around an allegedly racist ad campaign.

Scheduled for November 21, the Chinese authorities pulled the plug on the show, hours before it was to start.

At the centre of the controversy was a series of ads run on social media, to publicise the show. The campaign featured a young Chinese woman attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks. Many viewers found the ad patronising and offensive, some even uploading subtitled versions of the films to make it comprehensible to a wider audience.

To make matters worse, a user on Instagram named michaelatranova had a conversation, apparently with Stefano Gabanna himself, who used highly inappropriate language and imagery to describe China.

It culminated in widespread backlash against the fashion house, with several models and brand ambassadors for Dolce & Gabanna including Karry Wang and Dilraba Dimurat pulling out of the show.

After being widely shared, michaelatranova’s post chronicling the conversation was deleted by Instagram for “violating community guidelines on hate speech”.

The offensive campaign from Dolce & Gabanna was still up on the label’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds at the time of writing, but it had been taken off China’s Weibo platform.


Dolce & Gabanna put up a post claiming its Instagram handle and that of Stefano Gabanna had been hacked. With the clamour for an apology growing louder, the label published this message on its social media channels:


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