I was saving photos of Cheney Chen from yesterday’s show when I came across an article about the luxury Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana’s controversial photo campaign in China, which I thought would be interesting to share, so I am combining the two piece of news into one post.
First off, actor Cheney Chen was personally invited by Domenico Dolce to close for the Dolce & Gabbana 2017 fashion show in Beijing yesterday. He looked incredibly handsome and reminded me of his character Zhou Chongguang from the Tiny Times movies. You can see more pictures below the cut!
But, four days prior to the successful show, Dolce & Gabbana released a series of photos of their models in the city of Beijing with locals included in the shots, and uploaded them onto their official Instagram account.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Controversial Campaign
The South China Morning Post praised the brand for it’s well thought out campaign, they believed “Dolce & Gabbana has, cleverly, [became] the first big Western luxury fashion brand to localise its couture collection to appeal to the growing ranks of Chinese millionaires. [They predict] it will reap handsome rewards.”
And further explained in the article that, “Dolce & Gabbana like to localise, celebrate and poke fun at the status quo. The Italian brand used the tongue-in-cheek social media campaign shot around the Chinese capital to mark the countdown to its first couture show and collection dedicated to China (on April 21). It’s something Dolce & Gabbana has done whenever it has taken its Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria shows outside its Milan headquarters; previous destinations have included Naples and Hong Kong, where the brand posted shots of Hong Kong street scenes and night markets on social media before presenting its couture collections.”
So, Dolce & Gabbana’s campaign should have been considered standard promotion for the brand’s big fashion show that was coming up on April 22nd. However, reactions on weibo were mixed. Some netizens thought the photos were fine, while others found them to be highly offensive, as reported by China News Service (the second largest state-owned news agency): “Internet users complained that the photos showed China’s old, grimy side. They compared it to another Dolce & Gabbana campaign in Japan, which showed models posing near modern structures and under bright billboards.”
These were the comments they translated:
“I don’t quite understand the comparison between a general middle-aged woman and the stagy model. Only to make the model stand out? BTW, Tiananmen, hutongs are not the entire Beijing at all! Such a narrow view! I’m so disappointed at the series, especially after seeing the Japan series!” –XipaopaoerFlOrA
“The pictures totally ignored the high-speed development and changes taking place in China! This is intentional distortion.” –linbiying
“What you love is not China, but Chinese people’s money!” –lvelvelvekaikaiainiangao
“The photographer is just attempting to shorten the distance between the general people and fashion. The complaints are only about sense of inferiority.” –fatCriminal
And a quick weibo search led me to similar posts such as this one:
[+5072] “Why do they all have red cheeks… Chinese people don’t all look like that” — [to the person who said this] when you go home today, please take a good look at the lady selling jianbing downstairs and let her teach you what it looks like to make a living
[+5778] I don’t know anything about photography, but the Beijing photoshoot looks weird… there’s no composition, it feels like the people were photoshopped in, the colors are also yellow and dirty. It’s a world of a difference compared to the Tokyo campaign
[+3635] The one who’s discriminating against China isn’t D&G, but you internet users
[+3811] I can’t see anything derogatory them, but the photos are ugly that’s for sure
[+2589] I honestly feel these pictures weren’t shot well. As a clothing brand, it’s obvious that their intention was to compare their clothes to the attire of the people who were on the streets. There’s no need to be all patriotic about it, but the photos does contain undertones of belittlement
[+2342] No, the Beijing photo set really is ugly. It’s not about humiliating our country. The Tokyo set had good compositions, the models were reasonably sized in the shots, citizens were further away as a part of the background instead of being the focus, and there were many different street views. But, in the Beijing photos you can’t tell who was the subject or see the locations.
[+2046] The photos they took are so ugly. From what I remember Tianamen Square, Nanluoguxiang, and the Great Wall didn’t look ugly like this. In every photo, there’s models paired with villagers, the colors and compositions are all the same. They aren’t pretty or artistic. I don’t know what the photographer was doing
[+1786] How did such a good set of photos turn into something humiliating and derogatory in the eyes of some people? These pictures show the difference between normal citizens and the current fashion trends. The ordinary people looked very nice, who cares if their faces were red. For the last few tears freckles have been popular overseas, people who don’t have them even paint them on with makeup. You recognize the plastic faces online but don’t acknowldge our most natural appearances. This isn’t patriotic, this is low self-esteem
Cheney Chen on the Runway