The NBA, Dolce & Gabbana and China Live In A Parallel Universe

The NBA and Dolce & Gabbana find themselves in a parallel universe. Offended by their advertising, Dolce & Gabbana was also banned by the Chinese government and society. It was a news story without traction much beyond fashion industry circles.  An international luxury brand having issues in China seemed far away and not very relatable.

Now that a similar situation has hit the NBA, it is massive mainstream news.

The back story: About a year ago, Dolce & Gabbana ran three 40 second advertising spots on social media. They were designed with the intent to show their love for the Chinese consumer while being irreverent and endearing. Instead, the entire country of China took them as offensive and insensitive. Within days, founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana issued a lengthy apology on Twitter.

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce Issue Their Profound Apology

Compare this to the reaction and response by Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner.

“The long held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression…we hope our Chinese fans and our partners in China, they will see those remarks in the context of now and a three decade, if not longer, relationship.”

Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner October 9, 2019

Two very different apology styles.

A year from now, what will this look like for the NBA?

This is Dolce & Gabbana’s reality one year later.-

The Dolce & Gabbana punishment shows in revenue, media metrics and the always-important engine of luxury status branding: celebrity pop culture. Various reports indicate that social media reach has declined by 65% and their Asian region revenue is down by as much as 25%. Dolce & Gabbana is a significant operation at $1.5B USD. By any standard, these are very real numbers. In effort to protect their global careers, US celebrities are reportedly eschewing Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion on the red carpet and earlier this year, the model in their ads issued statements of apologies and regrets.

What’s at stake-

NBA China is worth $4B USD.

The Parallel Universe of Fashion, Sports and International Relations

The cross-dynamics of all this are quite mind-blowing. The US and China trade negotiations are carrying on and the two countries are blacklisting each other’s companies. The head of the Chinese Basketball Association is Hall of Famer Yao Ming, who had played his entire US career in Houston. Unbelievably, this the same team from which the much hated tweet originated. Tencent, the Chinese streaming video platform that hosts the NBA, recently signed their contract extension for $1.5B. Now Chinese fans want refunds due to the halt. Tencent’s Music Division trades on the NYSE and it is currently in a class action lawsuit for false and misleading statements. Then, of course there is the entire reason and motivation behind the Houston coach’s tweet- Hong Kong’s social unrest and rioting.

Global Dynamics

There is much analyses and parsing of the situation. It’s all basically moot. Dolce & Gabbana apologized profusely. Adam Silver’s apology is highly conditional. Do either really matter? Following their leader in an utterly unwavering manner is bedrock to Chinese society. So, it seems that short of a complete exoneration by President Xi Jinping himself, this status will continue for both the fashion house as well as the sports franchise.  

How long it continues is the real question.

Trophy Clothes

Luxe, Chic, Fab, Amazing, OMG, Style.  Love it, want it all, bring it, please.  Fashion’s finest unite achieving uber-levels of fashion excellence.  Its much more than the usual over-the-top-look-at-me outfit.  These are pieces are living museum installations that declare a whole new space of existence.

These last couple of seasons definitely are different.  We have reached a new fashion pinnacle.

I call it “Trophy Clothes”

Unquestionably, the tipping point hit us via the amazing Alessandro Michele at Gucci.

Alessandro Michele @WMagazine
Alessandro Michele @WMagazine

 Marco Bizzarri, the newly installed president with the insightful gusto in hiring Michele says, “I thought, Why should I look for someone else when he can translate the heritage—and when the values of Gucci are in his veins?”

It took a couple of seasons for some and years for others, but make no mistake, we are now deep in trophy territory.  How do you know trophy clothes when you see them?  ask yourself these key questions and see where they take you-in your imagination as well as in your closet.

Is it an accessory that is an absolute visual festival of delight? For me that means at least 3 differing elements keeping the mind and eyes entranced.  Many of this season’s Louis Vuitton bags are spot on.

Vuitton Pochette Kabuki $2,650
Vuitton Pochette Kabuki $2,650

OK, I know bags have been trophies for years now, so let’s look at some other pieces.  Dolce & Gabbana is another Trophy standard and they are extremely good at it by pulling off some of the most adorned, ruffled, printed and embellished pieces yet.

Dolce and Gabbana Ruffled Silk Embellished Jumpsuit
Dolce & Gabbana Majolica Ruffled Silk Embellished Jumpsuit $4,195

Versace has turned the simplest concept of the team t-shirt and transformed it into a live decal for the Trophy Movement.

Versace Logo Team T Shirt
Versace Logo Team T-Shirt $750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty is full-in as well.  Done right, it can be a fantastical compliment to the whole look.

Guy Tang Hair
@Guy_Tang on Instagram Featuring Rainbow Bayalage

Back to Gucci.  The logos!  It’s at a whole new level.  Nothing like the “Logo-Mania” eras of the past.  Trophy Logos.  Enough said.  Pulling together this mixed-media maximist look is the epitome.

Gucci Trophy Logos

 

Michele from Gucci sums it this way, “The way you dress is really the way you feel, the way you live, what you read, your choices. That’s what I want to put into Gucci.”

Do you want to feel like a trophy this season?  Go for it, that options are aplenty.

 

headshot-from-christmas Author Christine C. Oddo