Among the expensive goodies available from Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian fashion house, is a 250,000 ($490,000) pair of sunglasses, hand-tooled in gold and puckered with diamonds, which uncannily evoke the calamitous eyewear tastes of a certain veteran rock star.
Sadly, Sir Elton John is unlikely to be buying a pair, for he has fallen out with the designers, and now doesn't want the rest of us to buy their beastly sunglasses either.
It is never a pretty sight when Elton, 67, gets cross. With the passing of the years come regular reassurances that he has calmed down, learned to control his temper, and discovered the joys of maturity. Then something will happen - a perceived slight, a hint of disrespect, an opinion he takes issue with - and up goes Rocket Man again.
J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Hobbit, wrote of a rage which "passes description - the sort of rage that only happens when rich folk who have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something". Among the things Elton seems to have lost is any sense of proportion.
Last week's eruption began when D&G's senior partner, Domenico Dolce, 58, a tailor's son from a village in Sicily, told a magazine that he did not agree with gay adoptions.
However shocking this might sound to the artsy-liberal London elite, it reflects the prevailing view in Italy, where such adoptions remain illegal. Dolce went on to claim that: "The only real family is the traditional one," before turning his attention to IVF, saying: "You are born to a mother and father, at least that is how it should be. I call children of chemistry synthetic children."
Elton, whose two adopted children with long-time partner David Furnish were born through IVF to a Californian surrogate, took enormous exception. "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic," he fumed on a social media site. "Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times. Just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana again." He signed off with: "#BoycottDolceGabbana".
It was this all-too-Eltonesque final flourish that did the damage. In effect, Elton was calling for the firm - with a 1 billion-a-year turnover and 5000 employees - to be put out of business. The designers - who are also gay - hit back with a Charlie Hebdo-style "Je Suis D&G" motif - accusing the singer of attacking their right to free expression. Domenico's partner, Stefano Gabbano, labelled the rock star "ignorant" and "a fascist", complaining: "He ignores the fact that others might have a different opinion, and theirs is as worthy of respect as his. It's an authoritarian way of viewing the world - agree with me or I'll attack your business."
Several of Elton's glossy showbusiness friends, including Courtney Love and Victoria Beckham, announced their backing for the boycott, while most of Italy rallied to the designers' side, with the Vatican nodding approval and conservative politician Carlo Giovanadi comparing the singer and his backers to the Taliban.
To many Italians, the row had the same phoney feel as one two years ago, when leading businessman Guido Barilla, boss of the eponymous pasta firm, was pilloried overseas for saying he would never use a gay family in an advertisement.
The mood lightened only slightly a few days later, when Elton was photographed in Los Angeles carrying a D&G shopping bag.
It's not that Elton, after 45 years at the top, doesn't try to control himself. He regularly watches a biopic about himself - Tantrums and Tiaras - made by Furnish in 1997, the gruesome footage of which includes a scene where he is playing tennis at the Hotel du Cap near Antibes on the Riviera. A passing fan recognises him and innocently calls out, "Yoo-hoo," triggering a monumental meltdown that climaxes with the singer storming into the hotel demanding to be flown home in a private jet, while screaming: "I'm never coming back to the South of France."
He credits the film with showing him what "a nightmare lunatic" he used to be, and appears to believe he has improved. "For me it was like having a mirror held up, and watching how not to be. I genuinely don't think I have tantrums any more. I've become a much more calm and collected individual."
Not everyone is convinced. The list of people he has feuded with is long, illustrious and, on current form, incomplete. There was Keith Richards, whom he labelled "an arthritic monkey" after the Rolling Stones guitarist scoffed that Elton could only write songs about "dead blondes". Then there was Madonna, who he called "a fairground stripper", adding: "She's a nightmare. Her career is over."
At an awards ceremony in London seven years ago, he exchanged barbs with singer Lily Allen, who - conspicuously well-refreshed - told him to eff-off, adding: "I'm 40 years younger than you, I have my whole life ahead of me." The wig-wearing rocker, known to be sensitive about his age, scowled: "I could still snort you under the table."
Three years ago, he laid into the record industry, claiming it was run by "idiots" who didn't understand creative talent. "They're sickening actually," he explained. "They are as thick as s***."
The irony of the current row is that both parties agree wholeheartedly on the importance of loving families. D&G's most recent show was called Viva la Mama and presented as a colourful celebration of motherhood with pregnant models and babies on the catwalk. Elton and Furnish may have taken a different route to parenthood, but no one could say they are not a conscientious and doting pair.
In Las Vegas last week, Elton told the audience at the Colosseum: "I love Dolce & Gabbana." Back in Milan, the designers were assuring everyone that: "We love Elton John."
- Telegraph Group Ltd