Can Kim Kardashian Revive Dolce & Gabbana From Its Scandalous Past?

Everything the Kardashians touch, turn to gold…or so they say. Designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce definitely thought so, when they tapped the mega-reality superstar and billionaire to co-design their Spring/Summer 2023 collection, shown at Milan Fashion Week. For those who remember, Stefano Gabbana, who is one-half of D&G, once called the Kardashians “the most cheap people in the world” in a now-deleted Instagram comment. It seems that the designer has ignored or perhaps forgotten his initial stance and is chasing the clout instead.

Since 2018, Dolce & Gabbana has been trying hard to revive their brand after the luxury fashion house made headlines after releasing a video campaign that showed an unnamed Chinese model attempting to eat oversized Italian foods with chopsticks. A male voiceover appeared to mock the model’s efforts using suggestive phrases like, “Is it too huge for you?” A large wave of backlash erupted across Chinese social media calling the brand out on its cultural insensitivity. This was not the first time the designers have been controversial and caused their PR team to work overtime. In the past, outrageous statements ranged from Stefano Gabbana’s unprompted statements that he would never want a non-Italian designer to design for the brand to Domenico Dolce’s bizarre explanation that children born to gay couples through fertility treatment are “synthetic.”

Though these statements have turned heads, it seems that the brand continues to thrive on controversy, despite being canceled by the public. This year’s Q2 Lyst Index saw the brand climb up to the 15th spot on its hottest brand list, probably due to the much-needed publicity boost from Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s wedding. The entire Kardashian clan from Khloe, Kim, Kylie, Kendall, and Kris, were dressed in head-to-toe custom D&G for the nuptials. The family has become staples to the growing list of famous faces who have seemingly forgotten about the brand’s racist ads, generalized homophobia and the list goes on.

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Kim Kardashian has now debuted her collaborative collection with D&G, reimagining the luxury house’s styles from the early 1990s and 2000s for SS23. The collection leans into Kardashian’s alter “sensual Italian mob wife” ego as explained to Business of Fashion. While the collaboration is a major feat for the reality star turned business owner, those sensitive enough might wonder if Kardashian’s involvement with her means that she supports D&G’s past controversies.

In the promotional black and white clip to introduce Kardashian’s involvement with the latest collection, one can draw parallels to the 2018 video ad that caused a collective uproar across the world. In this video, the Kardashian is seen eating a bowl of pasta with a fork this time, instead of the aforementioned chopsticks. While the subjects of the videos are different, the setting is familiar. It begs the question of whether or not this was done on purpose so fans could replace the unfortunate incident with a new and perhaps safer scenario. It might also signal that D&G is moving on from the incident and into a new era that involves the biggest family in show business to elevate and revive the brand to its former glory.

Looking at the collection itself, sans controversy, Kardashian focused on the edgier inspirations behind D&G’s archives. Sticking to a mostly black and white color scheme, the brand’s classic pink and floral motifs were nowhere to be seen in this collection. While the color palette was minimal, the textures defined by the intense burst of jewels and shiny silver were far from it. With this collection, Kardashian hopes to appeal to buyers across generations, though size inclusion could still use some tweaks. Her foray de ella into luxury fashion might signal that she might be starting her own label one day, but only time can tell.

With a big name like Kardashian attached to the label, the collection is bound to be a success, despite the brand’s controversial past. The fact of the matter is, no matter the issues, the brand is still surviving – and it will always cater to clients of the likes of the Kardashian clan.

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