BEIJING — Thai celebs Mario Maurer and Davika “Mai” Hoorne on Thursday expressed disappointment about not attending a Dolce&Gabbana show in China the fashion giant canceled over insulting remarks conveyed on its Instagram.
Dolce&Gabbana apologized Wednesday for the remarks it allegedly made in exchanges on Instagram but claimed its accounts had been hacked. Chinese celebrities reacted angrily after screenshots of the conversations were posted on social media and several said they would boycott a Dolce&Gabbana show scheduled for Wednesday night.
The company later said the show, an extravaganza meant as a tribute to China with Asian stars invited to take front-row seats, had been called off.
Mario and Davika were invited to be part of the show. They said they were disappointed about the abrupt cancelation but said they respected the decision of all parties involved.
The screenshots of what appeared to be private messages from co-founder Stefano Gabbana show him using poop emojis to describe China with the phrase “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia,” while those appeared coming from the brand official account include “eat dog bitch im block you.”
Dolce&Gabbana apologized on Instagram and said the accounts had been hacked. “We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts,” it said. “We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China.”
Zhang Ziyi, who starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” said on one of her social media accounts that the Italian brand had “disgraced itself.”
The studio for pop idol Karry Wang, an Asia-Pacific brand ambassador for Dolce&Gabbana, said late Wednesday that it had informed the fashion house that it would terminate all cooperation with the brand. Both Wang and Zhang had been invited to attend the event.
Stefano Gabbana also wrote on his Instagram that his account had been hacked, adding “I love China and Chinese culture. I’m sorry for what happened.”
The three promotional videos, which have been deleted from the company’s Weibo account, feature a Chinese woman using chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian food. Many Chinese social media users called the videos racist and full of outdated stereotypes.
欢迎收看Dolce & Gabbana “起筷吃饭” 第1弹。今天我们将率先向大家展示，如何用这种小棍子形状的餐具，来吃意大利伟大的传统玛格丽特披萨。Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce&Gabbana’s “Eating with Chopsticks”. First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita. #DGLovesChina#DGTheGreatShow
โพสต์โดย Dolce & Gabbana เมื่อ วันเสาร์ที่ 17 พฤศจิกายน 2018
In a statement from Milan headquarters, designers Gabbana and Domenico Dolce said, “What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life.”
The Shanghai extravaganza was to include 300 models previewing a new collection on a rotating stage, including super model Eva Herzigova and Isabella Fontana during a brand DNA section, and a lineup of millennial stars and influencers for a second section dedicated to the future. The final part of the show was to be dedicated to Asia, with Asian models and a front row of Asian stars among the 1,000 invited guests, including actor Darren Wang, actor Jing Kang Liang, singer Stan Young and actress Bing Bing Lee, along with Wang and Zhang.
Asia, and China in particular, is key to European luxury brands’ success. A recent study by Bain consultancy said one-third of all high-end purchases are made by Chinese consumers, shopping both at home and abroad. That is expected to rise to 46 percent by 2025, fueled especially by millennials and generation Z teens.
Dolce&Gabbana has 44 boutiques in China, including four in Shanghai, having entered the Chinese market in Hangzhou in 2005.
Dolce told The Associated Press in an email interview before the controversy erupted that the designers had planned an “homage to China, to celebrate the country, and at the same time, to tell our story and love for fashion.”
“‘We want to give life to a great show that we hope will be unforgettable to everyone. We used details that belong to the local culture, but always with sensitivity, without being intrusive.”