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On Monday, the White House unveiled Melania Trump’s first official White House portrait. It showed the First Lady wearing a jacket by gay Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana (D&G). Stefano Gabbana then posted her portrait image to his personal Instagram page, writing, “Thank you. Thanks to all those who appreciate our work.”
While the image has received 15,400 likes and 2,237 comments so far, some of Gabbana’s followers criticized Mrs. Trump and Gabbana. One commenter said “You’ve lost a follower” — Gabbana replied, “I don’t care!!” Another wrote “#NAZISTA” (the Italian word for Nazi) and left a middle finger emoji; Gabbana responded with five laughing face emojis and a poop one. When another follower called the post “disgusting,” Gabbana wrote “vai a cagare” which roughly translates to “go to hell” or “fuck off.”
Gabbana drew similar criticisms in early January 2017 after posting an Instagram picture of Mrs. Trump wearing a black D&G cocktail dress at a New Year’s Eve event. One of his commenters wrote, “Whether she’s beautiful or not, would you be proud to dress Eva Braun? So wrong,” but Gabbana did not recognize Braun’s name — she was Adolf Hitler’s female companion. Gabbana responded, “Who is Eva Brown? Sorry….”
In March 2015, D&G faced the threat of an international boycott after Domenico Dolce called children born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and artificial insemination “synthetic children.” In response, gay British singer/songwriter Elton John wrote:
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic.’ And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana
While gay designer Tom Ford has said that he has no interest in dressing Melania Trump, other gay fashion critics have been scared of criticizing Mrs. Trump’s fashion for fear of retaliation by Trump supporters.