Chinese e-commerce sites have removed Dolce & Gabbana products amid a spiralling backlash following a series of ads that were condemned as "racist" by celebrities and on social media.
Nearly all major Chinese e-commerce sites, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall and JD.com Inc., have suspended the sale of D&G products in China. A major fashion show in Shanghai was cancelled, e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and JD.com took down numerous company's pages, and fashionistas around the world were appalled.
Controversial comments by designers can be devastating for luxury brands.
The ads - released earlier this week to drum up interest in a Shanghai fashion show the Italian brand later canceled - featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks, sparking criticism from consumers.
TOP Italian Fashion House Dolce & Gabbana was forced to cancel a planned show after a race row involving its lead designer.
Dolce&Gabbana goods have disappeared from Chinese e-commerce sites as the fallout grows over remarks insulting China that appeared in the company's Instagram private messages but that it blamed on hackers.
The brand has maintained that both Gabbana and the brand's social media accounts were hacked during the incident and that the comments did not come from Gabbana. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi said that she would also boycott the brand.
But the backlash continued as retailers in China retreated from the brand.
Gabbana adds: "We would like to apologize to all the Chinese around the world because there are many, and we take this apology and this message very seriously".
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"We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China", the company said.
The situation highlights some of the challenges global brands face as they try to market to Chinese shoppers and do more business in the country.
It is not the first time Dolce & Gabbana has drawn fire in China.A series of advertisements a year ago prompted criticism and debate among social media users saying they only showed the grungy side of Chinese life.
The ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper wrote on Weibo late Wednesday: "China has always been friendly to foreign businesses". "Surely, we have many things to learn and for this reason we apologize if we made mistakes in expressing ourselves".
However, the crisis for Dolce & Gabbana showed no sign of easing on Friday.
The videos were originally posted on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service, and were deleted after a widespread uproar on social media.
The controversy risks alienating Dolce & Gabbana from one of the world's biggest luxury markets.
In a statement provided to WWD, Andrew Keith, president of Lane Crawford, said, "With respect to our customers, we have taken the decision to remove Dolce & Gabbana from all stores in mainland China, online and in Hong Kong".