Some of AOC’s favorite models and talents led by Helena Christensen, Ashley Graham, Monica Belluci, Eva Herzigova, Karen Elson, Chiara Scelsi and more are supported by photographers including Angelo Pennetta, Luca & Alessandro Morelli, Giuseppe Tornatore, Branislav Simoncik, Franco Pagetti, Bruce Gilden and Alex Majoli in celebrating Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2019 ad campaign.
Complicity Among Creatives
We don’t have the answers to any key questions around the participation of these creatives in the Dolce & Gabbana campaign — except to say that we wouldn’t participate in the campaign in any way. That’s a tough decision to make in a world that feels increasingly politically correct, a world where disagreement and debate is not tolerated by either demanding progressives or right-wing conservatives. So unlike many voices, AOC won’t criticize talents using their gifts on behalf of the Dolce & Gabbana brand.
Caught in our own concerns about the intolerance of politically-correct, progressive demands, we also acknowledge the reality of a world marching towards intolerance generally. This right-wing intolerance derides women’s rights or even our intelligence, gay rights, protecting the environment and a host of other values that the fashion industry theoretically embraces.
Examining Our Own Behavior Before Dropping the Gauntlet
In my own personal history, when finding myself in a high-level executive debate at Victoria’s Secret about abandoning plans to feature Naomi Campbell in our holiday marketing two weeks before launch, I made a choice that could have harmed me greatly.
Making it clear that I would resign from my position as fashion director and head of product development if we pulled Naomi for fear of upsetting conservatives in Keokuk, Iowa or Birmingham, Alabama, my inner voice was asking me “Are you crazy, Anne?” Yet, the response required of me to my bosses’ speculation was clear in my mind.
Decades ago, I owned a sales promotion business and when a star member of my team rushed into my office gushing about our new opportunity with Virginia Slims, I sat her down and explained that we would not be working with any cigarette companies because smoking cigarettes kills people.
In a similar vein, I sat across the table in a restaurant with a man I adored listening to details of his new job. When he told me that he had just accepted a top position with a leading cigarette manufacturer to head up marketing cigarettes to urban communities, my stomach sank. I knew this was the end of my involvement with him.
My decision wasn’t judgmental at all about my friend’s job decision. Clearly, I have beliefs and have taken actions that others don’t endorse. More than one man has dropped me, put me in police protection for a year trying to kill me, or denied me communion saying my rape charge was made up over my views about protecting Planned Parenthood, for example.
In each of these decisions though, I understood that my own actions around an embrace of values that I don’t support involved a certain degree of complicity in advancing them. This is an existential question with no easy answers, one that touches each of us differently.
Dolce & Gabbana Has Always Cultivated Controversy Against My Values
Dolce & Gabbana’s founders have used snarky commentary to advance controversy for years. Babies born from IVF fertilization are not “children of chemicals, synthetic chidlren”; they are children.
In the now-famous interview with Italian magazine ‘Panorama’, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce declared their opposition to gay couples adopting children or having them via IVF. “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one…. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
When Dolce & Gabbana turned to black-face and ‘Mammy’ earrings in their 2013 collection, they were beyond racially-insensitive.
ALL OF US watched the luxury brand advance racial stereotypes on the 2013 runway. Perhaps this is where Prada got its guts to launch key chains and charms inspired by the same theme, causing a blowup in their Soho store a month ago.
The response to Dolce & Gabbana’s racial tropes hardly created severe blowback against their business. Life moved on to advance another controversy.
Perhaps we just live in a world where we can’t celebrate what the Dolce folks insisted was a collection that honored Italy’s Moorish heritage. Caught in still-fresh wounds of slavery and Southern segregation in the US, the demands that todays’ citizens must honor the US Confederacy as great heritage is too painful and psychologically complex.
In a world where Dolce & Gabbana celebrates Melania Trump as a #DGWOMAN, it’s time to simplify the situation in a few choice words:
It if looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”
Dolce & Gabba Is Now Banished From AOC
I do not advocate that Dolce & Gabbana be put out of business. But given the times we live in, we must ask if shooting the brands’ ad campaigns or modeling in their ads — or featuring their brand campaign on fashion blogs — offers a form of looking the other way around the values and beliefs of its founders.
The message that’s communicated is “Well, it’s really not so bad what they say. After all, for thousands of years, boys will be boys. “
In the time of Trump, we must take politically-difficult stands. I will take one for Anne of Carversville today — hours before reaching out about a fantastic new apartment five blocks of the ocean in Virginia Beach. Will these comments end my quest for a dream live/work environment that is subsidized for artists? I must roll the dice and pay the price is necessary.
We will no longer promote Dolce & Gabbana on AOC. We’ve featured four images out of 12 or so, to make our point. This is the end. I’m not going to make us crazy trying to pull any D&G shots from fashion editorials, but you will not find another Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign or runway shots on AOC — unless and until the brand reforms itself for a consistent period of three years.
To the extent that the D&G boys make positive contributions to unite humans, rather than divide us, we will track their progress. To be honest, I wasn’t as flipped out over the Chinese campaign as other people, but the Chinese people were highly offended, and that’s what counts.
Taking a retro look at the 2013 runway collection just now, is a 5-alarm fire in Trumplandia. As I say to Trump, how stupid do you think I am?
Each of us makes daily decisions around walking our talk and our values. In considering AOC’s own position, my thoughts focus on the incredible voices of the Parkland students.
What would those young people say about Dolce & Gabbana’s long history of controversy, including their celebration of the Catholic Church riding roughshod over women’s bodies? Parkland voices are pounding on my brain, saying: “Anne, you know the right thing to do.”
If I don’t, Emma Gonzalez has every right to say about my constant appeal for progressive values actions, “Anne, I call BS on you. ” Emma would be right, and so I won’t let that happen.
Anne of Carversville is done with Dolce & Gabbana until a three-year public reformation occurs in their so-called Godly souls.
I have no problems saying that the divisive, right-wing values of the designers are in close alignment with Donald Trump’s. If one is crazed over Trump, how does one promote the D&G designers? Each of us can ponder the answer to the question, but specifically, I wish that women I admire would take a stand. ~ Anne