The pair made ill-advised comments about IVF and gay adoption to Italian magazine Panorama: "We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one... I am not convinced by those I call children of chemicals, synthetic."
The comments were picked up by international media and attracted the opprobrium of gay parents and anyone who has used or been conceived via IVF treatment. The most vehement protest came from Sir Elton John, who has two children with husband David Furnish. The singer posted a picture of Dolce and Gabbana on Instagram alongside the caption: "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’" and signing off with #BoycottDolceGabbana.
A sensible person might think this was the moment to row back, clarify or use any of the other face-saving methods people use to extract themselves from a mouth-before-brain scenario. Not so the designers. Gabbana retorted by calling Elton John a "fascist" and called for people to #boycotteltonjohn.
However, with Victoria Beckham, actor Dan Bucatinsky and, err, Courtney Love joining the singer’s banner, the fashion label’s brand managers must have been weeping into their over-sized designer sunglasses. The designers have since said it was never their intention "to judge other people’s choices" but, to date, the boycott hashtag has been used more than 30,000 times.