A number of high-profile fashion designers, including Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet, have publicly refused to dress the incoming first lady. In contrast, Stefano Gabbana happily posted a photo of Trump wearing the dress, which retails for $2,995 at Saks Fifth Avenue, to his Instagram account, with the hashtags #DGwoman and #madeinitaly.
Naturally, the Jan. 2 post instantly divided Gabbana’s Instagram followers. In particular, some interpreted the openly gay designer’s post as an endorsement of Donald Trump, and blasted Gabbana for what they perceived as his support of a president-elect who ran on an explicitly anti-LGBTQ platform.
“Many gays, minorities and others fear legislation that will take away freedoms. If it were Mrs. Reagan, Bush or Obama (either party) no one on either side would mind,” one user wrote. “But this is offensive to the core.” Added another: “Sad when a gay designer doesn’t care about other groups being repressed.”
As it turned out, that last remark was too much for Gabbana, who fired back at the user, “Dont call me gay please!! I’m a man!!! Who I love its my private life [sic].”
It’s unclear how the 54-year-old native Italian speaker intended the response to be interpreted. Still, a number of LGBTQ publications, including The Advocate and Queerty, saw Gabbana’s clap back was tone-deaf in its apparent dismissal of “gay.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that the designer has angered the queer community. In 2015, he and his design partner, Domenico Dolce, faced a backlash after claiming that children of same-sex parents were “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteruses for rent, semen chosen from a catalog” in an interview with Italy’s Panorama magazine.
Dolce went even further, adding, “I am gay, I cannot have a child. I guess you cannot have everything in life. Life has a natural course, some things cannot be changed. One is the family.”
Months later, the men issued an emotional apology. “When they ask if I wanted to be a parent, I say yes, of course, why not? But it’s not possible in Italy,” Gabbana told Vogue in a September 2015 interview. “I had thought of going to California and having a baby, but I couldn’t bring the baby back to Italy, because you need the mother’s passport. I asked about adoption in Italy. It’s very hard for a straight couple here — imagine if you are gay!”
The Huffington Post has reached out to a Dolce & Gabbana representative for comment.
It’s unclear how this latest debacle will pan out, but here’s to hoping that Dolce & Gabbana consider the power of their words when speaking on LGBTQ issues in the future.