Dolce and Gabbana reportedly cancels Shanghai fashion show after racism accusations

Shoppers walk past a Dolce & Gabbana store in Hong Kong
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Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana reportedly canceled a fashion show in Shanghai after being accused of racism in its promotions for the event.

A series of three videos posted on Twitter and Instagram over the weekend showed a Chinese woman being told how to use chopsticks, but they caused outrage on social media with some accusing the fashion label of cultural insensitivity and racism. The films were designed to promote "The Great Show," a catwalk event to be held at Shanghai's Expo Center on Wednesday night.

But according to a report on industry website Business of Fashion, the show has been canceled, with guests being informed it will no longer go ahead. China Daily reported that celebrities including Zhang Ziyi, Li Binging and Wang Junkai had withdrawn their attendance from the show before it was pulled and said Dolce & Gabbana's Weibo account announced its cancelation.

The video series, entitled "Eating With Chopsticks," show a woman eating large plates of pizza, spaghetti and a giant Italian cannolo pastry, while a male voiceover tells her what to do.

But some people reacted angrily to them, with one writing "Orientalism is expressed so explicitly in this ad. It's very offensive to portrait all Chinese ppl (people) in such a stereotypical way." Another wrote "This is so stupid and culturally insensitive! Take down this video at once D&G!" and a third said: "This is racist, take it back."

Chinese news website Jing Daily reported that the films had been removed from social network Weibo, a report that CNBC has not been able to verify. Jing Daily also said that "Boycott Dolce" had been mentioned more than 18,000 times on Weibo.

This is not the first time the fashion house has attracted controversy. In 2015, the designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said: "We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one," attracting protests outside their London store.

The company has outlets in 25 cities in China, according to store listings on its website. Chinese luxury consumers account for over 500 billion yuan ($72 billion) in annual spending, representing almost a third of the global luxury market, according to a 2017 McKinsey report.

Dolce and Gabbana had not responded to CNBC's request for comment at the time of publication.

  • CNBC's Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.