If Dolce & Gabbana was hoping its latest brand crisis in China might blow over quickly, those hopes appear to be dashed judging by its reception at Milan fashion week.
At Sunday's fall/winter 2019 fashion show, the Asian press section formed less than a third of its usual numbers, reported the South China Morning Post, which also noted the absence of key high-profile Chinese editors like Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung and a dearth of Chinese faces in the audience at the runway event.
While the Milan show continued to feature some Asian models, the SCMP reported the number was far fewer than D&G's average in such shows.
In November, the Italian luxury brand had to cancel its first Shanghai fashion show after an online campaign featuring a Chinese model eating pasta with chopsticks (photo below) was widely criticised as racist by Chinese social media and the Chinese government became involved.
Compounded by offensive comments Stefano Gabbana reportedly made via Instagram messages, the eventual apology by Gabbana and Domenico Dolce on Weibo came too little too late for Chinese netizens who have ridiculed the brand on social media ever since.
In an exclusive interview with Campaign China, Terence Chu, the founder of the experiential agency behind the doomed Shanghai D&G show estimated the brand will have to wait for at least two to three years before resetting or restarting what would have been its China strategy.