Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the two men behind the fashion label Dolce & Gabbana, have provoked calls for a boycott after they questioned the wisdom of surrogate parenthood and in vitro fertilisation to make babies.
Speaking to the Italian magazine Panorama, Mr Dolce said: “I’m not convinced by those I call the children of chemicals, synthetic children. Wombs for rent, sperm chosen from a catalogue … psychiatrists are not ready to confront the effects of this experimentation.”
Elton John reacted furiously to the comments, saying: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’… And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.”
His call for a boycott was backed by other celebrities including former tennis player Martina Navratilova and the singer Ricky Martin.
Following the uproar, Mr Gabbana said: “We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it.”
Mr Dolce said: “I’m Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family, made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known.
“But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. That is the place where I learnt the values of love and family.”
Mr Dolce had made similar comments on IVF before. In 2006 he said: “I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents. A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother.”
The pair founded their fashion label in 1985.