DOLCE and Gabbana have expanded on their views about gay adoptions following a social media boycott of their fashion line started by Sir Elton John.
"We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it," Stefano Gabbana said in a statement to The Independent.
"We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love."
Domenico Dolce added: "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. This is the reality in which I grew up, but it does not imply that I don't understand different ones. I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people's choices and decisions."
The openly gay Italian designers outraged Sir Elton by declaring their opposition to same-sex adoptions.
"The only family is the traditional one," they said.
"No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed."
Sir Elton, who has had two children by IVF with his husband David Furnish, wrote on Instagram: "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic'.
"And shame on you for wagging you judgemental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.
"Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions."
"I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana."
Gabbana countered Sir Elton's statement with his own Instagram post- a picture of a mother and her children, alongside the hashtags '#dgmamma' and '#dgfamily'.
"This is respect for a different opinion? #boycotteltonjohn," he stated in a separate post.
"It is simply arrogant not to tolerate those who think like him (Sir Elton) poor thing. We live in a democratic country and respect the ideas of others."
Hundreds of families - and household names - have since taken to the social media site to post pictures of their family in defence of IVF treatment using the #boycottdolceandgabbana hashtag.