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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 10:33 GMT
D&G criticised over knife adverts
Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana run the fashion house
Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has been criticised over "irresponsible" adverts which showed some models wielding knives and others with graphic wounds.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the two ads could be seen as glorifying knife-related violence and were likely to cause offence.

It received 166 complaints about the ads in the Times and Daily Telegraph.

Dolce & Gabbana defended the ads, published in October, saying they were designed to evoke the Napoleonic era.

Forehead wound

The adverts showed models in poses inspired by the paintings of French romantic artist Eugene Delacroix.

The first, printed in the Times and Daily Telegraph, showed two men brandishing knives at a third man who was sitting on a chair.

A fourth man was lying on the floor with a wound to his forehead.

The second ad, printed in the Daily Telegraph, featured two men supporting a woman who was holding a knife and had a wound on her chest.

Showing young men brandishing knives while surrounded by glamorous women does not send the correct message out to our youth
Dee Edwards
Mothers Against Murder and Aggression

Five separate categories of complaint were upheld relating to Dolce & Gabbana's social responsibility and issues of taste and decency.

But a complaint claiming the adverts would encourage young people to self harm was not upheld.

Dee Edwards, founder member of Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, was one of those who complained and welcomed the ASA's decision.

"These adverts were at best distasteful and at worst dangerous," she said.

"Showing young men brandishing knives while surrounded by glamorous women does not send the correct message out to our youth.

"It is very important that advertisers understand the damage they can do by using this type of imagery."


ASA said the knives in the first advert were being brandished aggressively and "could be seen as condoning and glorifying knife-related violence".

It also said the advert as featured in the Times "was likely to cause serious or widespread offence" because it appeared opposite and article on knife-related crime.

In relation to the second ad the ASA ruled the depiction of the wound caused by the knife also glamorised knives, was irresponsible and was likely to cause offence.

The ASA said it had reminded Dolce & Gabbana of its duty to prepare adverts with a sense of responsibility and told it and the Times to take greater care in the placement of similar ads in future.


ASA director general Christopher Graham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We just think that fashion houses need to think before they advertise - however stylised, however glamorous, knives and stabbing should not be part of fashion advertising."

In defence of the adverts, Dolce & Gabbana claimed they were "highly stylised and intended to be an iconic representation of the Napoleonic period of art, emphasising the theatrical effects of that genre".

The Times said it would be discussing the issues raised by the ASA with advertisers.

The Daily Telegraph said it did not believe most of their readers found the ads offensive as they would recognise their heavy stylisation.

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