Dolce and Gabbana Controversy

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Storied designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of fashion house Dolce & Gabbana recently found themselves embroiled in controversy regarding comments concerning In Vitro Fertilization. In an interview with Italian magazine Panorama, the duo said, “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.” They also said “No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”

Given that the pair is openly gay and had a longstanding relationship until 2005, the comments seem particularly unfounded and have raised significant opposition, Elton John spoke out on Instagram, posting most notably, “Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

Perhaps most notable in Elton’s denouncement is the assertion that Dolce & Gabbana clothing is “out of step with the time.” The house certainly has not been celebrated for innovation, especially in the fast-paced, social media-driven world of microtrends, where youth culture reigns supreme.

The line between low and high fashion has never been blurrier, and Dolce & Gabbana just isn’t present in the current milieu. Designers such as Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent Paris and Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy have revitalized their respective fashion houses—updating their offerings for the luxury sneaker era. While brands stocked at Opening Ceremony continue to transcend their downtown cool-kid roots.

Dolce and Gabbana should focus on their clothes, instead of their private opinions. In an interview with CNN, they qualified their comments, saying, “We love gay couple[s]. We love gay adoption. We love everything. It’s just an express of my private point of view.”

The use of the term private is crucial. In the age of Twitter, opinions abound in a 24/7 barrage and in this era, people need to know when to keep their opinions to themselves. Although the Dolce and Gabbana’s comments were made during an interview, it was bound to go viral on Twitter granted their positions in the global fashion industry. Public figures should know when to tread lightly when asked about controversial topics, or perhaps not at all.

Elton John’s reaction is certainly not unjustified however it exemplifies a larger issue. An issue that becomes focused around celebrities instead of the news regarding hot button issues such as IVF. Instead of encouraging informed discussions around IVF, many will simply be thinking about the banter between Dolce & Gabbana and Elton John.

In short, it is more pertinent for Dolce & Gabbana to focus on their primary enterprise—their clothes—especially given that the house has failed to attract the crucial base of young trendsetters. We’ll also have one less opinion clogging our news feeds—and that’s certainly welcome.

Sam Del Rowe is a Staff Writer. Email him at bstyle@nyunews.com

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