The set at Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2013 fashion show at Milan Fashion Week included a balcony lined with trailing ivy and upstanding cacti. The models on the runway wore fruit cornucopias — and burlap dresses and earrings that include romanticized images of black women living happy slave plantation lives.
The New York Times’s Suzy Menkes thought the show was “imaginative.”
“The imaginative elements came fast and furious — witty, ironic, funky — but always with a sense of proportion and style,” Menkes wrote in a short write up about the show. “The spirit of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is maxi — and the show was effusive in every way, from earrings that swung as giant raffia circles fancied up with pompoms, through prints of toy soldier puppets on silken sheaths.”
For others, the show was obviously offensive.
Sara Ilyas at The Guardian writes, “that’s the same Aunt Jemima that, initially conceived as part of a minstrel show, became an image that romanticised slavery and plantation life. There’s no denying they’re offensive.”
To top it all off, not a single black model was included in their show. So Dolce and Gabbana liked black women enough to exoticise them on earrings but not to include them on their runway?
A model walks the runway at the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2013 fashion show as part of Milan Womenswear Fashion Week on September 23, 2012 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)