Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana could be going out of style in China after a series of controversial ads some said were racist were published to its Instagram and Twitter accounts this week.
Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana either canceled or postponed its highly anticipated fashion show in Shanghai after Chinese celebrities refused to attend, CNBC and CNN reported Tuesday and Wednesday.
The controversial ads show a Chinese model being instructed to use chopsticks to eat Italian pizza, as "stereotypical" Chinese music plays in the background, according to CNN.
"Don't attempt to use the chopsticks as knives" and "just use your chopsticks like pliers," the voiceover narration says.
The narrator, speaking in Chinese, mispronounces Dolce & Gabbana, which online commenters said is ridiculing the way some Chinese people mispronounce the brand name.
China Daily reported actress Zhang Ziyi and others have declined to attend the fashion show on Wednesday.
"Orientalism is expressed so explicitly in this ad. It's very offensive to portray all Chinese ppl [people] in such a stereotypical way," one commenter said.
Chinese luxury customers, who spend $72 billion annually, are a highly sought after demographic among European fashion houses. Dolce & Gabbana alone has outlets in 25 Chinese cities, according to CNBC.
The firm has since apologized, but mostly for what the company claims were "unauthorized" messages detailing racist comments from Stefano Gabbana that were posted to Instagram.
"We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts," the company said.
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欢迎收看Dolce & Gabbana "起筷吃饭" 第1弹。 今天我们将率先向大家展示， 如何用这种小棍子形状的餐具， 来吃意大利伟大的传统玛格丽特披萨。 Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce&Gabbana's "Eating with Chopsticks". First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita. #DGLovesChina #DGTheGreatShowAdvertisement