People just started leaving: Singapore socialite on Dolce & Gabbana show cancellation

The outfit and accessories socialite Chloe Ng was supposed to wear.
PHOTO: Instagram/Icon Magazine

SINGAPORE - She and her family had travelled to Shanghai, excited for her opportunity to walk the runway for an international fashion house, representing Singapore for the first time.

Local socialite Chloe Ng, however, was left disappointed when the show at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre was cancelled at the last minute.

International fashion house Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) called off its Nov 21 fashion show, said to be the brand's biggest show in its 33-year history, amid a row over alleged racist remarks by one of the designers, Mr Stefano Gabbana.

Celebrities and brands from China have also declared a boycott of D&G, including actress Zhang Ziyi and Chinese e-commerce firm Yangmatou.

The controversy was sparked by videos posted by the brand on Instagram, first posted on Nov 17, depicting a Chinese model in a red D&G dress struggling to eat Italian food such as pizza and cannoli with chopsticks.

The narrator asks: "Is it too big for you?"

The campaign, to publicise the fashion show, was deemed racist and insensitive by many on social media. The matter was compounded by subsequent racist comments allegedly made by Mr Gabbana via Instagram messages to netizens.

Dolce & Gabbana is cancelling its Shanghai show after the company came under fire over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts.

Among other things, the designer allegedly called the Chinese, "China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia".

D&G later said in an apology posted in Chinese on Weibo that Gabbana's Instagram account had been hacked.

"We are sorry for the impact and harm these untrue remarks have had on China and the Chinese people," it said.

Ms Ng, 22, told The New Paper from Shanghai on Thursday (Nov 22) that while she thought the campaign videos themselves could have been an honest mistake, she was shocked by Mr Gabbana's alleged comments.

She said: "That was really racist. It makes its Chinese customers feel like the brand just wants their money and this is what it really thinks of the Chinese."

According to Icon magazine, Ms Ng would have been the first guest to represent Singapore at a D&G show.

It reported that the show was cancelled at about 3.30pm, six hours before the start.

Chinese celebs proclaim love of country after D&G racist ad incurs wrath of netizens

  • D&G's post on Chinese social media platform Weibo to promote its upcoming runway show in Shanghai have been accused of leaning heavily on Chinese stereotypes, causing heated discussion on social media platforms both at home and abroad
  • The series of 'ads' showed a Chinese woman being told how to use chopsticks to eat Italian food like pizza and spaghetti.
  • Early Wednesday morning, in a chat on Instagram between a netizen named "michaelatranova" and someone using the personal account of Stefano Gabbana, one of the brand's co-founders, Gabbana allegedly made insulting references toward China and Chinese people.
  • After the issue blew up, Steffano then claimed that his account was hacked.
  • Several Chinese celebrities including Zhang Ziyi, Li Bingbing, Wang Junkai and Chen Kun had confirmed their absence from the brand's "The Great Show" fashion show before the brand announced cancellation officially.
  • The brand's China ambassador Dilraba Dilmurat has deleted all posts related to the brand and said on Weibo, "I love you, my dearest country, China."
  • Wang Junkai had also terminated his working relationship with the Italian brand.
  • Chinese actress Li Bingbing pulled out of the show and posted a proclamation on Weibo in response to the debacle.
  • D&G posted a response on Instagram, but did not apologise.

Ms Ng said: "It is such a pity, it would have been a great opportunity for many of us, who have never had our countries represented, to represent our countries at such a large show."

She said the fashion house's other designer, Mr Domenico Dolce, had been dedicated to the show, taking time to work with every person walking the show.

ALSO READ: China celebs break off relationship with D&G after controversy

She said: "It is such a pity to see all their hard work wasted just because of some stupid comments made (by Mr Gabbana). The irony is that the show was meant to be a tribute to China."

Ms Ng said the cancellation happened quickly, and some were not even told of it.

"People just started leaving, and a lot of them (people who were supposed to walk the show) just started leaving," she said.

"...There was no point in continuing with the show."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.