. In COOLTURA
My first check from Dolce&Gabbana is taped to my parent’s refrigerator. It’s the chicest thing in their kitchen. It’s the chicest thing in their town.
“I work for Dolce&Gabbana” once rolled off tongue like gasoline, poisoning those around me with envy! (I hoped). At 22 I’d “made it” into the world of the SIGNIFICANT.
What I didn’t realize while absorbed in self-importance was:
1) people don’t care what job you have when you’re drooling and topless
2) bragging is hard to understand through slurring
3) the higher up you get the more disappointed you’ll be
Back in the Old World, before social media and “working for exposure,” I had one of those entry-level jobs any early-20s girl hopes for: PR! What does it stand for? Public Rejection? Penis Relations? Who knows! Either way it’s what Samantha did on SATC so…YAY!
Organizing fashion parties was my 9-5 but for an extra 90 I’d cocktail waitress those events. People who sucked up to me to get on the list or through the door turned bitchy the instant they lifted a flute off my tray. But it was OK–after the gig I could buy a ZARA dress that looked like the Dolce I was wearing.
(the author at work for a D&G party in 2010)
For those blissful shifts they’d dress me in their best. A fuschia fur cape, a shiny silk shift, luxe lace leggings…the backless black gown I ripped while sitting to pee. Those leopard print pointy pumps are still with me; popping up periodically via muscle spasms in my knees.
(author in said leopard print heels)
After my frienemies ran off to the next party, I’d stay behind for hours. Cleaning and scarfing leftover finger food out of the trash. Toes throbbing in size 39’s and organs squished in tg. 40. And I’d never felt more glamour! Sweating over a hot sink washing lipstick off of crystal rims was my private delight. Who’d those stains belong to? I was so close to something IMPORTANT.
Finally, when I absolutely had to, when all the chores were done, I’d drag myself to the dressing room and slip back into my rags. The gorgeous spell was lifted, one that I didn’t deserve. That’s the effect of a Brand That Big. That kind of Brand can get away with murder.
Power isn’t fair when it isn’t yours but dudes it is SWEET to get swept up in. The Dolce&Gabbana family welcomed me. They were good to me. I swiftly moved on from events and catering to content. They gave me my first (ever!) column in their magazine, SWIDE. I can’t link it because its wiped out, but trust a hoe when she says ‘MONDO TRASHO’ and ‘TALENTS AT TEA TIME’ (both SWIDE columns) were nothing short of visionary! And they let me go far, they let me push the boundaries.
What D&G&Family let me get away with set me up for failure with future editors. I didn’t realize my first writing job would be the freest I’d ever get. At the time, I thought this was simply due to my genius. That I deserved it!
My space in D&G grew. Eventually I was let loose backstage at their shows, interviewing models and harassing guests to my liking. Stefano and Domenico were lovely and polite anytime they’d run into me doing something insane with their branding. “Your dress is great, what is it?” Domenico asked me once-I was in a transparent lace slip with visible underwear. “It’s an American Apparel ripoff of one of your designs.” Hah! He exclaimed–“I love it!”
The crazier I got the more invites arrived in my mailbox. One Christmas, I got to be a guest at a (very fucking exclusive) dinner party in their Milanese apartment. I never figured out if it was Stefano’s or Domenico’s place but the decor was straight out of a mafia flick on NETFLIX!
I got so trashed that night I knocked into a server, spilling his tray of champagne all over a priceless carpet. I then rolled around in the puddle, “dancing the stain away.” That made me nauseous so I booked it downstairs to vomit into a black and gold toilet. Minutes later I left the party with a purse full of D&G cosmetics I snagged off the marble sink.
The next day I woke up smelling like “The One,” covered in golden bronzer, scared for my life. I was certain I’d be fired–ruined! I opened my email while covering my eyes partially with my hands, expecting a horror show. Instead, I found myself tagged in an article, written by a SWIDE editor, describing the whole fiasco. They thought it was funny.
As I read the piece I cried, feeling adored and appreciated!
Or was I just surrounded by people used to bad behavior with no consequences?
Of course I always considered my brand of “behaving badly” to be charming and cute, but let’s face it: what I did wouldn’t fly in the States.
I left on good terms to write for other magazines. I learned that the “freedom” D&G gave me as a writer wasn’t on account of my brilliance but simply on their tendency to neglect details or avoid checking their content for offensive material. Speaking of offensive, from the outside I started noticing their runways were sprinkled with designs based on “tradition” in the south of Italy aka slavery.
Then, it was discovered they were evading taxes. Of course, the case got settled because it always does for the rich. I was stupid to think they would actually get in trouble! So I wrote an article about it for VICE. Something like: “How Will Dolce&Gabbana Fare In Jail” -my editor was appaled. “Don’t fuck with them” he said. I trashed it.
The next year, they hosted their infamous HOLLOWOOD Halloween party with the theme “DISCO AFRICA” and many attendees showed up in blackface. This time VICE let me write about it but only if I used a pseudonym (Sabrina Mink, if you’re curious). My boss didn’t want to reveal my ability to betray powerful people, people I once worked closely with. They didn’t want Milan to hate me for turning on Dad&Daddy. It just isn’t done!
The article got some hype but their brand grew stronger. It even grew after they said gay families shouldn’t have kids and it will probably grow after this too. (The China situation-you know it!) The world is turning on D&G but they don’t care!
HELLOOOOO: their whole “thing” is being insensitive + hateful + racist towards OTHERS! Sure, their stocks and sales will go down and journalists will stop writing about their shows for a few seasons but as long as their shops line Montenapoleone, they feel fine. Their ego is tied to their homies and in Italy nobody disowns their fam.
Being American is easy. We bite the hand that feeds us. If you’re feeding us shit, why not? Turning on people is liberating. It’s never too late to hate. One strike and you’re out! Americans don’t care about their families the way other cultures do. They don’t care about their friends or their hometowns either. Why should we when most of our families and friends and hometowns suck?
It’s hard being Italian. They come from culture and mozzarella–why would you wanna leave your fam if you think that somewhere in that fam you’ve got genes of a famous painter ? Or the grandma who invented ravioli? Italians are all related to the art that makes their country special. So it’s hard to “betray” their artists, even when they’re giving everyone a bad name.
I feel bad for Italians. I feel bad for the people who work at D&G and can’t leave. I feel bad for all the models in China who didn’t get their Career-Making Show. I feel bad for the actress in those horrible chopstick videos. They’ll end up suffering more than Stefano and Domenico and that’s a goddamn shame. This could have been avoided. Hundreds of people may not be out of work today if those close to D&G kept them in check from the start.
Maybe if they had edited my early articles I wouldn’t be offended when an editor edits my stuff now? Entitlement is a disease and there ain’t no condom for it!
Anyway. I may be a traitor to my work fam but I’m I’m not throwing out my D&G stuff and I’m not taking that check off the fridge. Hell, I’ll probably be nice to D&G if I run into them at a party. I’ll even let them dress me for their funeral.
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