The designer duo behind luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana have issued an apology to the Chinese in an effort to stall a growing backlash against their label after a social media campaign soured and leaked comments were deemed racist.
The controversial clip, originally posted by D&G on its Instagram and Sina Weibo accounts, shows a female Asian model in a glitzy red Dolce & Gabbana dress using chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian foods.
Meanwhile, Haikou Meilan Airport Duty Free Shop said it deleted all D&G goods, posting a photo of empty shelves on its social media account. Our families have always taught us to respect the various cultures in all the world and this is why we want to ask for your forgiveness if we have made mistakes in interpreting yours. "From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude to our friends and guests". A series of advertisements a year ago prompted criticism and debate among social media users saying they only showed the grungy side of Chinese life.
Gabbana also asked for forgiveness and offered a formal apology to Chinese people around the world.
"China has always been friendly to foreign businesses".
Although the brand and Gabbana urgently put out statements saying their Instagram accounts were hacked, no one bought it, and the fashion show was abruptly cancelled, costing millions of dollars for the fashion brand.
Last April the brand posted a campaign on Weibo that showed impoverished people in run-down areas of Beijing pictured with Dolce & Gabbana models ahead of a catwalk show in the city.
High profile celebrities, including Elton John and Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy, responded to boycott the brand, not least because Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana are themselves gay too, but mostly for the brand's narrow-mindedness in an age of tolerance and inclusivity.
Alina Ma, associate director of research at market insights firm Mintel, said the Dolce & Gabbana ad left Chinese consumers confused and appeared to show the company did not understand them. The brand said its account and that of Gabbana had been hacked but many Chinese netizens were not buying that.
Travona has since reposted her conversation with Gabbana to her Instagram account.
The Chinese government also stepped in with the Cultural and Tourism Department ordering Dolce & Gabbana to cancel the event just a few hours before it was scheduled to take place. The retailer Lane Crawford said it would pull the brand from its stores and online sites in mainland China and Hong Kong after customers had returned Dolce & Gabbana items.