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: the Italian luxury label has a legacy of deeply problematic behavior that ranges from casual homophobia to unfettered racism.
However, as a think piece published earlier this year 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 nattily breezed beyond controversy, letting its indulgent clothing speak in place of its incendiary co-founders.
As such, flashpoints like D&G’s racist campaign from 2018 have since been swept aside by tentpole moments like Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian’s D&G wedding outfits.
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.
And, also, because this is a truly strange collaboration. Shown during Milan Fashion Week on September 25, the latest Dolce & Gabbana 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.
For instance, if Y2K camp is what you crave, Paris Hilton at Versace, Kate Moss in Bottega Veneta, and Christiancore Blumarine all delivered in spades and baggage-free, to boot.