Asia-Pacific

Chinese model thought career was over after 'racist' Dolce and Gabbana ad

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The face of Dolce & Gabbana's controversially 'racist' advertisement has broken her silence to apologise, saying the campaign “almost ruined” her career.

Chinese model Zuo Ye says she feels "very guilty and ashamed”, after appearing in the Dolce & Gabbana advertisements last year that angered an nation. 

The controversy began when the Italian fashion powerhouse launched three promotional videos showing Ms Ye struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks. 

The 40-second clips were used to promote the “DG Loves China” campaign, ahead of a fashion show in Shanghai last November.

But many viewers found the advertisement of poor taste, while also creating racial stereotypes. What ensued was a social media storm of backlash.

Designers Stefano Gabanna, left, and Domenico Dolce pose for pictures at the new  Dolce & Gabbana women's store on Madison Avenue, Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Designers Stefano Gabanna (left) and Domenico Dolce pose for pictures at the new Dolce & Gabbana women's store in New York.
AAP

The model has recently said it almost "killed off her career", and issued an apology on China's social media website Weibo for participating.

In the post, Ms Ye provided a chronological account of the Milan shoot in November, and said she wasn't aware the video would be edited in a way which could be viewed as a distasteful and insensitive. 
 
"I appreciate the fact that this isn't just my personal action, but that I am representing the image of our country, and of Chinese culture so I am racked with guilt, deeply apologetic, and will definitely improve my decorum in future," the post read. 
 

  
After previews of the campaign were released on social media, things escalated when private Instagram messages in response to the criticism went viral, allegedly sent by the brand's co-founder Stefano Gabbana.
 
The designer said his account had been hacked, and denied writing the messages. The fashion house later was forced to apologise in response to accusations of racism. 
 
A still image captured from a video uploaded online on Nov. 23, 2018, shows the founders of Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana S.R.L, apologizing on Chinese social media over a heavily criticized video advertisement. (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo
The founders of Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana apologised on Chinese social media over a heavily criticized video advertisement.
KYDPL KYODO

But the damage in China had already been done.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Shanghai cancelled DG Loves China's The Great Show, after more than 100 Chinese models booked for the show began to pull out.

The brand remains frozen out of the world's biggest luxury market, with Dolce & Gabbana products still unsearchable on some e-commerce sites. 

A computer screen shows the online impact on Dolce & Gabbana products displayed in Beijing, China.
A computer screen shows the online impact on Dolce & Gabbana products displayed in Beijing, China.
AAP

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