Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) has hurt the feelings of Chinese web users with a promotional campaign that highlighted the more rough edges of the Chinese miracle.
Last week, the famous luxury brand published a Morelli Brothers photoshoot shot in Tiananmen Square and around Beijing’s traditional hutongs as part of the company’s “DG Loves China” campaign. However, many Chinese netizens failed to notice any love in the photos showing professional models dressed up in high-end fashion alongside ordinary local residents going about their daily life, driving pedicabs and sitting around outside.
Netizens have argued that rather than highlighting China’s tremendous advances over the last three decades — from straddling buses to the marriageable robots — D&G instead tried to show the “ugly side” of modern China, reinforcing dated Western stereotypes about the country’s “backwardness.”
“The pictures are so absurd. From the perspective of Dolce & Gabbana, China is filled with bikes, old ladies in rags and rude tourists. Thanks to China’s fast development, the country now has so many modern things to offer the world, but the Chinese people and buildings in the photos all look quite 1990s,” Zeng Yuan, a Nanjing-based fashion designer, told People’s Daily.
As further evidence that the Italian fashion house is trying to make China lose face, Chinese netizens have pointed out how the company decided to represent Tokyo. In its “DG Loves Japan” campaign, models are seen posing in front of neon lights and soaring skyscrapers.
“It looks like D&G sees Japan as a land of wealth and culture, while China has nothing but dirty poverty,” wrote one Weibo user.
Still, other Chinese netizens have argued that the pictures are realistic and the only thing embarrassing is Chinese web users criticizing them. “Since ancient times there have always been Chinese people who look down on other Chinese,” commented one web user.
However, in the end, most seemed to agree that whether these photos were humiliating for China or not, they were certainly ugly. D&G later pulled the photos from its Weibo account without offering an explanation.
[Images via Dolce & Gabbana]
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