At Dolce - The Show Went On

Despite the social media maelstrom that recently hit the house of Dolce & Gabbana,  the DJ played Fred Astaire’s “Cheek to Cheek,” prosecco was served by waiters in white gloves, and the duo’s mens Fall/Winter fashion show went on just the same.

Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

In a catwalk show dubbed “Elegance,” tailors hand-sewed suits before the crowd, on a stage awash in crimson velvet, 1920s style.  A British announcer stood at the podium to explain the craftsmanship behind each look, many of which were inspired by Italy’s Baroque, Byzantine, and Roman monuments. An homage surely to its most opulent customers, Dolce & Gabbana rolled out a bejeweled, bedazzled collection that could have been used in the wardrobe of the blockbuster film “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Sadly, unlike in the film, there were few Chinese at the show... if any. 

It’s the first official fashion calendar runway event Dolce & Gabbana has staged since its epic China show was canceled in November due to the offensive comments that originated from Stefano Gabbana’s social media accounts about China and the Chinese people. As a result, some retailers around the world pulled Dolce & Gabbana’s products from their websites and in stores. 

Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

The designers have since issued a public apology on YouTube, which is still posted on their Instagram bio. Since the debacle, business has pressed on. In Italy, the designers staged a small, private show in December for a few clients and journalists and opened a Rome store during the same month. 

But looking into the crowd at the show on Saturday, the effects were palpable and the mood was low. Fewer seats, no big social media stars on the runway, no big celebs and certainly no gaggle of screaming girls outside waiting for Cameron Dallas. Some spectators said they were thankful there were no protestors... or worse. 

While market watchers say the scandal will negatively impact Dolce & Gabbana’s sales for some time, the western market may go unharmed as many in the West are oblivious to the racism accusations. And the Italians... well...  Italians are no strangers to major scandals even at the highest, most elite echelons of society – Parmalat, Tangentopoli, not to mention our ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s “Rubygate” prostitution debacle... just to name a few.  

Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

At the close of the show, the duo came out to the applause of a forgiving crowd.  Without any airs, they waved quickly and cracked a meek smile... probably one of the hardest smiles of their career.