Despite a slew of headline-gracing scandals, Dolce and Gabbana has successfully meandered through hot water over recent months. But now, it seems the Italian fashion house may finally be facing the consequences.
On Sunday evening, Hollywood’s biggest names demonstrated their sartorial know-how on the Oscars 2019 red carpet. From Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen to Gemma Chan in romantic Valentino ruffles, the starry evening certainly lived up to every fashion devotee’s expectations.
But while a couple of A-listers wore Dolce and Gabbana to Vanity Fair’s after party, no big names donned the label at the Academy Awards itself.
Has the once-reigning brand finally lost its crown?
Celebrities turned their back on the brand at the 2019 Oscars
From a Louis Vuitton-clad Emma Stone to Sarah Paulson in hot pink Brandon Maxwell, the 2019 Academy Awards red carpet welcomed some of the best dressed A-listers to date.
Lady Gaga, who has worn several Dolce and Gabbana designs in the past, also opted against the Italian label.
Back in February 2017, Stefano Gabbana took to Instagram to criticise the cropped Atelier Versace outfit she wore during the Super Bowl halftime show.
In defence, the singer took to Instagram to call out body-shaming without directly addressing the scandal.
The arguable boycott also thrived at the 2019 Golden Globes with again, major names opting against wearing the luxe label.
But what did it take for celebrities to finally bid farewell?
A series of Dolce and Gabbana scandals
Most recently, Dolce and Gabbana – founded by design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – faced controversy after releasing a ‘racist’ advertisement.
The ‘instructional’ video, released in November 2018, depicted an Asian model attempting to eat an Italian pastry with chopsticks. In the clip, the woman mispronounces the brand and looks confused by the dessert, collectively known as cannoli, on her plate.
It wasn’t long before the advert sparked backlash with Instagram account @dietprada leading the protest, dubbing the campaign “offensive”.
The caption read: “Pandering at its finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for?”
If that wasn’t enough to kick-start a boycott against the brand, co-founder Stefano Gabbana allegedly sent messages to account owner, Michaela Tranova, referring to the “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia”.
The fashion house’s response was that the Dolce and Gabbana account was hacked.
Social media users promptly began to boycott the brand via social media thus pressurising Dolce and Gabbana to release an apologetic statement before eventually cancelling its Shanghai show.
But it’s not the first time the luxury label has sparked outcry among A-listers.
In September 2018, the designer called Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni’s Dior wedding dress “cheap” after not long before describing Selena Gomez as “ugly” via Instagram.
Now, it seems the design duo’s social media trolling may have finally alienated the brand from some of its biggest clients.
Out of touch with the luxury market
According to a 2017 McKinsey report, Chinese consumers constitute almost a third of the global luxury market, making up 500 billion yuan (approximately $72 billion) in annual spending.
Dolce and Gabbana owns outlets in 25 Chinese cities and the design duo’s recent antics will have damaged their most lucrative market.
The design duo’s 2018 Shanghai show will have been a strategic ploy to secure high-paying clients in the booming industry with competitor Kering – the owner of Gucci and Alexander McQueen – reporting an increase in sales soaring by 30% in the first half of 2018.
But the tone-deaf advertisement alongside Stefano Gabbana’s keyboard antics may have cost the brand financially.
Thomai Serdari, a strategist in luxury marketing and branding, told CNN Business: “People are really influenced by what’s happening online. They do shop primarily online, and they’re excellent researchers.”
The media has also turned its back on the brand making it clear that all is not forgiven.
At the AW19 show during Milan Fashion Week, The South China Morning Post reported that the Asian media section was less than a third of its usual size with editors from leading publications boycotting the brand.
Yet with First Lady Melania Trump’s wardrobe still boasting Dolce and Gabbana designs, the brand may have a way of staying firmly on the media’s radar. The Duchess of Cambridge also wore a Dolce & Gabbana look – a tweed suit – to an event two weeks ago.
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