No Coco for you! Russian socialites barred from buying Chanel products

While Ukrainians starve and are killed, wealthy Russians complain they can’t buy their favourite accessories

07 April 2022 - 08:42
By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Chanel is reportedly refusing to sell products to Russian socialites unless they promise not to wear them in Russia. File photo.
Image: Eric Gaillard/Reuters Chanel is reportedly refusing to sell products to Russian socialites unless they promise not to wear them in Russia. File photo.

Wealthy Russian socialites have reportedly been left fuming over luxury fashion brand Chanel’s refusal to sell them its accessories at their overseas stores. 

Last month, the world’s leading luxury brand announced it planned to temporarily close stores and pause business operations in Russia as a result of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Birkin bag maker Hermes and Cartier owner Richemont were the first firms to announce such moves, followed by LVMH, Kering and Chanel.

“Given our increasing concerns about the current situation, the growing uncertainty and the complexity to operate, Chanel decided to temporarily pause its business in Russia,” the French luxury fashion house said in a LinkedIn post at the time.

Since then, Russian influencers have publicly complained about Chanel’s refusal to sell them goods and accessories because of their nationality.

According to the Daily Mail, interior designer and influencer Liza Litvin revealed that she was unable to purchase a bag from a Chanel store in Dubai because she was Russian. She further complained that the brand only agreed to sell her a new order after she signed a letter saying she “won’t wear this bag in Russia”, much to her fury.

Her complaint was echoed by other socialites and influencers who complained of similar treatment at Chanel stores across Europe. Chanel has since confirmed the new policy to the site, which it explained was a result of EU and Swiss sanctions. 

These are the latest sanctions to hit influential Russians abroad. From last month, the property and assets of wealthy Russians have come under heavy scrutiny as authorities continue with sanctions against the country. The world watched in awe as properties were raided and luxury yachts and soccer clubs seized in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin was not left unscathed, with two superyachts and a Black Sea palace linked to him coming under the spotlight. 

— Additional reporting by Reuters

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.