Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has heard the criticisms over its support of U.S. first lady Melania Trump.
Its response? The equivalent of a disinterested catwalk hair flip and a shrug — and not the fabric kind.
Last week, Dolce & Gabbana rolled out a line of $245 T-shirts clearly meant to flout the objections of those who have called for a boycott of the luxury fashion label.
"Dolce & Gabbana boycotts itself," the brand tweeted last Thursday. The only thing missing was the crying-laughing emoji.
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) June 8, 2017
The brand also released a video of a fake protest urging people to boycott Dolce & Gabbana. Filled with young models wearing the aforementioned shirts and waving banners, the faux footage looks as though it could have been ripped from Kendall Jenner's ill-fated Pepsi commercial from the spring.
The fashion house's founders, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, both make appearances in the video, pretending to "lead" the protests and give interviews.
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) June 9, 2017
While some fashion designers have distanced themselves from the Trump administration — or outright refused to dress the first lady — Dolce & Gabbana has embraced any connection. The love has been mutual: Melania Trump has worn the label on multiple high-profile occasions, most recently when she accompanied her husband on a trip to the Middle East.
Criticism of both the first lady and the Italian fashion house flared again last month after Trump wore a $51,500 multicolored Dolce & Gabbana coat to the G-7 summit in Italy, with some on social media declaring her out of touch with average Americans.
Representatives for Dolce & Gabbana did not immediately respond to a request for further comment about the "boycott" campaign Wednesday afternoon. However, Stefano Gabbana has been unabashed on his personal social-media accounts about his support for Trump.
When he received backlash this year for posting a picture of the first lady in a Dolce & Gabbana jacket, Gabbana hit back at commenters who said they were giving up on the brand.
"i don’t care!! Really," Gabbana replied to one Instagram user. He told another critic to "go to hell" in Italian, according to People magazine.
After the first lady once again was photographed wearing Dolce & Gabbana, this time on the day she moved from New York to the White House, Stefano Gabbana shared a photo of her on Instagram with numerous heart emoji and the words "THANK YOU."
Since the election, calls to boycott retailers that carried merchandise bearing the Trump name have become a way to protest President Trump, spearheaded on the left by a campaign called #GrabYourWallet. Those calls have been met with some equally passionate responses on the right, who say they are determined to support the Trumps with their buying power.
The boycott tug-of-war, centered on everything from Super Bowl ads to prime-time television commercials, has had a variety of outcomes. Famously, Nordstrom announced this year that it would drop Ivanka Trump-branded items, prompting her father to complain on Twitter. Other efforts have backfired.
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Outrage at Dolce & Gabbana over its designers' controversial statements is nothing new. In 2015, Elton John called for a boycott of the fashion house after the two lead designers told Italian magazine Panorama that they opposed gay adoptions.
"The only family is the traditional one," the fashion duo said, according to a translation by the Telegraph. "No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
John hit back with an Instagram post defending his two children, who were conceived through in-vitro fertilization.
"How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic,' " John wrote in the caption. "And shame on you for wagging your judgemental [sic] little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.
"Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana"
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic". And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana