Y2K style is no mere flash in the pan: this trend's got legs and it's using them to walk the catwalk at every other show held during Fashion Month Spring/Summer 2023. There've been expected nods here and surprise cameos there but perhaps the most baffling moment inexplicably involves Kim Kardashian and Dolce & Gabbana.
To be clear, Dolce & Gabbana should not be so quickly and easily adored by the fashion glitterati. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the founder of the Italian luxury label, have a legacy of deeply problematic behavior that ranges from casual homophobia to unfettered racism and, though it's issued the apologies typical of big brands — read: written by a public relations rep — D&G has never really faced its founder's faults.
However, as industry observers have pointed out, D&G has employed several winning strategies that've made it effectively impossible to cancel, including a renewed focus on celebrity clientele.
By focusing on flashy clothes and famous friends, Dolce & Gabbana has breezed beyond controversy, letting its indulgent clothing speak in place of its incendiary co-founders.
All according to plan.
Stylists who once swore to never work with Dolce & Gabbana again are dressing their clients in bespoke D&G outfits. Publications that condemned its impropriety now sing paeans to D&G's runway exuberance. The world keeps turning.
So, why dredge all this up again? Who cares if Kim Kardashian co-signs Dolce & Gabbana?
Because D&G's troubled past ought to remain part of contemporary conversation whenever its name is brought up.
For instance, shown during Milan Fashion Week on September 25, Dolce & Gabbana's latest collection wasn't designed by Kim Kardashian nor did she model for it, though she did take a bow alongside Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
Instead, the socialite helped select pieces from the D&G archive that then inspired the brand's Spring/Summer 2023 offering, which ranged from Y2K-era leopard-printed corsets and cross pendants to shoe-pants that're suspiciously similar to Kim's favorite Balenciaga bottoms.
Some early aughts D&G pieces were entirely remade in the socialite's image, like the "SEX" choker that now spells out "KIM."
There's even a graphic T-shirt printed with a spaghetti-slurping Kim, though the effect is less luxurious layering piece and more bootleg Marilyn Monroe merch.
Suffice to say, Kim's D&G team-up reiterates how capable D&G is at creating zeitgeisty moments that generate widespread positive buzz.
For all involved, it's a win-win: both parties get free publicity, Kim gets a little more fashion credibility (as if she needs it), and D&G's past debacles are shoved deeper into the dustbin of history.
This sets a concerning precedent, one in which a transgressive designer or company can simply wait long enough for controversy to die down while remaining wealthy, successful, and influential. No need to face past wrongdoings head-on: a slight pivot and some patience are all they need to escape unscathed.
It's not like there weren't plenty of other interesting moments at Milan Fashion Week that're much more worthy of celebration.