I've interviewed Elton John a couple of times. The occasion? His annual Oscar viewing party. As a reporter here in Hollywood, you stand for hours on the red carpet, dressed to the nines trying to get soundbites for your report at 11. Elbow-to-elbow with your competitors, you are lucky if you get in one or two question before Sir Elton steps and then repeats the process. I'd like to say that my questions for him were clever and unique... but when time is of the essence, and others are screaming for his attention, I was lucky just to get in the obligatory, "Who are you wearing?"
One thing is for sure now... his answer will NOT be Dolce & Gabbana.
For those of you who haven't followed the back and forth between the fabulously flamboyant singer and the dynamic duo behind the fashion brand... here is why the faux fur is flying.
In the Italian corner, Domencio Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The business partners are both gay and were a couple for 20-something years. The designers recently did an interview with an Italian magazine. In it, they said they oppose gay adoptions -- believing the only family is a so-called "traditional one." Dolce also condemned in vitro fertilization, referring to IVF babies as "chemical offsprings" and "synthetic children." To add insult to in vitro injury, he called a surrogate nothing more than a "rented uterus."
For Sir Elton John, those were fighting words.
The singer -- who is raising two small children conceived through IVF with his husband, David Furnish -- instantly took to Instagram. He cut directly to the chase by saying, "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic.'" He called their thinking archaic... and in the snippy world of haute couture, bit at Dolce and Gabbana by saying, "you are out of step with the times, just like your fashions." Snap.
Elton then vowed to never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. To prove he meant NO business, he hashtagged: #BoycottDolceGabbana. (By the way, that hashtag is now topping the trending list on Twitter. When NPR checked its popularity, it was ranked right between the campaigns #boycottclippers and #boycottisraelapartheid).
Not to be out-Instagrammed, Gabbana then posted multiple responses, calling Elton John a "fascist" and defending his company and his right to speak. He also invoked the hashtag for a boycott of all Elton John's music (to which I say... that's going to be about as effective as a "candle in the wind.")
Now, I do have a "dog in this fight" (although I've never been able to afford to hang Dolce & Gabbana in my closet). Just like Elton John, I'm raising a beautiful baby born with the help of IVF. Just like the designers, I was raised in a traditional family. (However, mine was Mormon, not Sicilian -- which means we were much more bland, but conservative just the same).
I can understand why some still have conventional thoughts of families. For me, in vitro is the mother of all inventions... but it's barely been around for a generation. I admit I would have had a hard time explaining how I got pregnant to my great-grandma. But how in the modern world of fashion can two openly gay designers, who want acceptance with every stitch of their being... be so outdated in their brand of thinking?
Gabbana said, "It was never our intention to judge other people's choices." OK. Let's stop right there. Are you telling me gay fashion designers don't judge the choices others make?" Pah-leeze.
In fact, I find their position perplexing on many layers (and I'm not just talking about their upcoming fall collection). The fashion industry is always about pushing the envelope. They want us to embrace the unusual, applaud the unexpected and buy into the outrageous. And yet, two of the men in fashion's front row refuse to think outside of the box when it comes to designing a family? All I have to say to D&G is OMG!
Don't ask me to be fashion forward when you have such a backwards way of seeing society. Don't make cutting remarks about how other people create their kids. If you are going to embellish, let it be about the recent medical breakthroughs in fertility science. And know your comments didn't rip my family a part at the seams... if anything, you made me appreciate my silver lining even more (and it's a silver lining both Elton John and I proudly wear).