Stefano Gabbana: sexual harassment is no big deal, ‘political correctness is fake’

Dolce & Gabbana Show in Pretoria Square

I feel like I’m on the precipice of designing a theory about over-50 fashion designers and how they’re good at giving interviews. Karl Lagerfeld – who recently turned 84 years old – is the current king of brilliantly uncomfortable interviews. He’s shocking and funny and terrible, all at once. It’s felt for years now that Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce are trying to take a page out of the Lagerfeld book, at least when it comes to media management. The problem with them is that they say awful, shocking and weird things and then when people are outraged, Dolce & Gabbana freak out a little bit and then act like people are “hating” on them. Lagerfeld just owns his sh-t and rarely apologizes or plays the victim.

In 2015, there was a movement to boycott Dolce & Gabbana because of the designers’ comments on IVF and artificial insemination. The designers called babies born of those methods “synthetic” and mocked the very idea of gay couples raising children. They eventually apologized, but first we had to go through weeks of bullsh-t. Then they played the victim when people criticized them for dressing Melania Trump. It’s all rather inane. Anyway, Dolce & Gabbana are currently in residence in London, where they have taken up a temporary ateliers in the city, and they plan on doing some runway shows in London, and launching a Christmas capsule collection for Harrods. As such, British Vogue decided to do a lengthy interview with them. Gabbana did most of the talking, per usual. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Dolce on millennials: “People talk about millennials like they’re the worst generation. You need to respect and talk to these guys; ask them why they’re representing a big change in the world. These people found love; they found friends. Friends are not just a ‘like’ – you know, a follower – friends are love. And people need love and attention. I think the millennials are another life. They have different values than us. They want a good world because they’re so angry that we’ve given them the worst world: climatico, politica, decadenza… everything.”

Gabbana on dressing Melania Trump: “You don’t make any mistakes if you tell the truth. Any kind of truth is true. I’m not American, I’m Italian. I really don’t care about American politics. You do what you want. I’m a designer! She’s a customer. She was before she became first lady. In the game of newspapers and TV, everything is business. If you make it interesting you can talk about it.”

Gabbana on sexual harassment:
“It’s not new! Luchino Visconti asked Helmut Berger and Alain Delon to go in the bed… But listen, you decide. It’s true. Everybody knows. After twenty years you say, ‘Ah! He touched my ass!’ It’s not violence, this. Who doesn’t do sex? Who doesn’t? It’s a trend. Now the trend is sex. But sex is an old story. We are Italian. We came from the Roman Empire. We know very well.”

Gabbana on political correctness: “Every generation does the same thing, but in a different way. We act against our families. I wore ripped jeans and my mother…” he stops, mimicking maternal shock and horror. “For me, political correctness is fake, because you don’t have the power to explain what you really think. With respect to everyone, I am not Mussolini. I am not God. It’s just my opinion. But I love when people say exactly what they think. If you don’t agree with another person, you still have the freedom to say what you think.”

The fashion industry has lost its identity, according to Gabbana:
“Everyone worked with the right energy [in the 1970s]. After, they changed jobs and it became about business – the stock, the bank – and the fashion completely lost its identity… There are no longer any real fashion designers. It’s all about business and marketing. Mr Saint Laurent died a long time ago. Christian Dior, too. It’s a dead collection for me. There are no longer designers with a personal story. This is dangerous. The big company takes a new designer and puts them over an old label. They think it’s a clever strategy, but it’s not. Because by doing so, you take away from the people the time to grow by yourself and who you are.”

[From British Vogue]

To say the least, Gabbana has some bad takes. I think what he’s saying about sexual harassment is that it’s nothing new, that people have been harassed and harassers for a very long time, and that’s why we shouldn’t talk about it now? It’s pretty awful to think about what he’s really saying, about that and about “political correctness.” Maybe the thing that will truly never go out of style is “dudes with enormous privilege whining about political correctness and how things used to be a lot better when they marginalized people would just stay marginalized and STFU.”

Now, all that being said… he’s not wrong about hiring young designers to take over the old fashion houses. Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy… these fashion houses have lost their way because of the revolving door of new designers with limited vision.

Stefano Gabbana in Portofino

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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18 Responses to “Stefano Gabbana: sexual harassment is no big deal, ‘political correctness is fake’”

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  1. Veronica says:

    These guys seem like douchebags, but honestly, given some of the awkward wording, I’m wondering if some of it is a translation issue.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I’m Italian and no, it’s not a translation issue, they are really awful human beings.

      • Carrie1 says:

        Yeah. His comments on sexual harassment are disturbing. This is why it persisted through time immemorial -men like him thinking it’s their right and entitlement.

    • Jussie says:

      Not really.

      I think what is a bit lost in translation is that they’re very light and jokey. It doesn’t make them less offensive, but I do think often people get the impression they’re taking serious stands about things when really they’re just running their mouths like dumbasses.

    • Lauren says:

      No wording. They mean what they said. They have always been ignorant douches.

  2. HH says:

    If they wanted to dress Melania Trump, so be it. Of all the things to criticize about this family, that’s hardly on the radar. However, this quote: “Any kind of truth is true.” DANGEROUS. Given that we have a head of state who’s actively attempting to create his own reality , such a statement is not just nonsense–it’s dangerous.

    And his sexual harassment comments? UGH. However, I’ve disliked them for a while and never really enjoyed them or their work, so I’m not entirely disappointed or shocked.

  3. SilverUnicorn says:

    I am Italian, I don’t need to be American to understand Trump is an orange fascist and a bomb ready to explode.

    Take several seats Stefano and do me a favour, don’t taint ‘Italian’ with your awful interviews, had enough of people excusing their own stupidity with our nationality.

    And P.S.: Roman emperors and senators were all bigots (they used to describe Italic tribes in awful terms because they were licentious in matters of sex).

    • Hoping says:

      I am Italian and I fully agree with you. I am so embarrassed at the idea of being perceived as “represented” by this person.
      Ciao 🙂

  4. Brea says:

    Well, I did expect the interview to be terrible so I’m not surprised.
    Still, I never understood the backlash against them for dressing Melania since 1. they’re not even American 2. their personal politics are not far away from those of the orange man.
    I mean, some American designers didn’t take a stand because business is business so why should foreign designers take it?

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      2. Yes, they are two fascists so it’s easy to see why they don’t care about Trump.

    • laulau says:

      There’s a ton of rich republicans to dress so I wouldn’t resent any designer not choosing a side. This guy comes across as one of those guys who revels in being “shocking” which I find truly annoying in people.

    • shlockOftheNEw says:

      Why shouldn’t they dress Melania?? Because we Remember- Today -who dressed the nazis.

  5. common sense is for commoners says:

    My biggest takeaway from this is that I totally forgot that Dolce & Ga-whatever still existed. I live adjacent to a very wealthy area (Palm Beach), and I never see people wearing D&G anymore.

  6. Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

    “But sex is an old story. We are Italian. We came from the Roman Empire. We know very well”

    Hm, people were having sex looooooong before the Roman Empire came into existence. What do Italians know very well? Because some history books mention well-organized, intricate undertakings involving mostly men, enjoying flesh and meat, then throwing up the meat and repeating all over the flesh and meat cycles, if you know what I mean.So no, I don’t think so!

    Political corectness my booty, equating wearing ripped jeans with serious issues affecting people’s dignity and life.

  7. bella says:

    Wow. This made me cringe as much as it made me laugh. Gabanna sounds real dense here.

    And this: “There are no longer any real fashion designers. It’s all about business and marketing. Mr Saint Laurent died a long time ago. Christian Dior, too. It’s a dead collection for me. There are no longer designers with a personal story.”

    Made me laugh! Because D&G lost their originality and made it ONLY about business and marketing the past few years as much or moreso than Dior or Laurent. All their designs basically look the same, their campaigns are ATROCIOUS, using instamodels in attempt to stay ahead of the curve, proving they are only about marketing to younger people; they are less original than ever before. Truly disappointing, as they used to be one of my faves. Absolute hypocrisy. They lost it.

    And sexual harrassment or assault doesn’t equate to “just sex”, fucking imbecile!

  8. Shelley says:

    They are usually on wrong side of every issue. Wasn’t there some racist comments about two years ago?

  9. Redgrl says:

    I remember seeing them in a very posh restaurant in Paris about 10 years ago. One of them wore sunglasses inside.
    You could smoke inside then and one of them did throughout their meal. It was fashion week (which we found out after we had booked our trip) and some young women who we therefore assumed were models sent flowers to their table. They sent the flowers back. Seemed kind of pretentious & obnoxious to me.

  10. Ann says:

    I find this tolerable, even kind of humorously wrong. If they give more interviews I’m going to read them. I have my limits, but until they cross the line I want to hear more. I love all the fashion talk and I adore your input, Kaiser!