French luxury house Chanel is to stop selling its handbags and collections to Russians, stating it will only sell to Russian citizens who live abroad.
With mounting pressure on luxury brands to support Russian sanctions after the country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, some global Chanel boutiques have refused to sell to Russians who are taking goods back home.
In the UAE, where many wealthy Russians have second homes and are welcome by its governments, Chanel, like in other countries, is prohibiting the sale to clients who are returning to the Russia Federation.
Only Russians who live abroad can shop at Chanel
According to the Daily Mail Chanel will prohibit "the sale, directly or indirectly, of luxury items to any natural, legal person or entity in the Russian Federation, or for use in the Russian Federation." This would entail only Russians who permanently live abroad are entitled to shop at Chanel.
Social media has been rife with stories of Russians who were refused sales at Chanel. “We understand that these measures, aimed at complying with the requirements of the law, may create certain inconveniences for some customers. We are currently working to improve the procedure and apologise for any related misunderstandings and inconveniences," Chanel said in a statement.
Russian celebrity singer Anna Kalashnikova in an Instagram post stated she was not allowed to purchase a bag and earrings at a Chanel boutique in Dubai. Complaining of Russiaphobia, she mentioned Coco Chanel herself was linked to the Nazis back in the second world war.
Moscow foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an Instagram post accused Chanel of “cancelling Russia,” referencing the Abwehr documents that Coco Chanel was an informant to the Third Reich, living in a wealthy suite in the Ritz during the war, financed by Germans.
Chanel’s Russian customers are reportedly asked to show documents to confirm that the products they purchase will not be used in Russia. While this may be prove to be a moral and even discriminatory dilemma for many brands, it also shows luxury houses are taking sanctions on exports seriously.