Russian socialites and influencers irate after being barred from purchasing Chanel goods

Many luxury brands, including Chanel, Hermès, Prada, and LVMH, have temporarily closed their stores in Russia.AFP via Getty Images

  • Several Russian influencers and socialites say they’ve been barred from purchasing Chanel goods.

  • One influencer accused the fashion house of “Russophobia” for not allowing her to shop at a Dubai outlet.

  • Another socialite said some Russian shoppers had pulled strings to acquire luxury goods.

Several Russian influencers and socialites have said they were barred from purchasing Chanel items and were told that it was the brand’s policy not to sell its products to Russian customers.

Anna Kalashnikova, a Russian socialite and influencer, posted on her Instagram on Sunday accusing Chanel of “Russophobia in action.” She claimed that she had not been able to buy a pair of earrings and a bag at a Chanel outlet in Dubai.

“Since I often come to Dubai for Fashion Week, Chanel managers recognized me, approached me, and said: ‘We know that you are a celebrity in Russia, we know that you will take your purchases there, so we cannot sell you our brand items,'” said Kalashnikova in her post.

She said that the experience reminded her of how “Coco Chanel was not only mistress of a Nazi” but that she was a fascist agent.

“The actions of her legacy, her brand make you think about the biography of Coco Chanel. Supporting fascism and Russophobia is so low,” Kalashnikova said.

Meanwhile, Russian interior designer and influencer Liza Litvin posted an Instagram story — seen by Fortune and the Daily Mail — detailing her similar experience of not being allowed to purchase Chanel items in Dubai.

In the post, Litvin claimed she had to sign a document at a Chanel outlet declaring that she did not live in Russia and that she would not wear the bag on Russian soil.

“I went to a Chanel boutique in the Mall of the Emirates. They didn’t sell me the bag because (attention!) I am from Russia!” wrote Litvin in the post, per Fortune.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian socialite Snezhanna Georgieva said that some Russian shoppers have managed to find back doors to negotiate the purchasing of Chanel items, per The New York Post.

“I will love it when these brands are back,” Georgieva said. “But we know some shops that are still open when a regular customer calls them.”

Representatives for Chanel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. However, the brand’s policy appears to fall in line with a European Union ban on the export of luxury items to Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

On Friday, pro-Kremlin tabloid Pravda ran a rebuttal to Chanel’s stance from Maria Zakharova, a representative from the Russian Foreign Ministry, who accused the brand of supporting Nazism by not selling products to Russian customers.

“We just opened a closet, from which 80-year-old skeletons that had not yet decayed had fallen out,” read Zakharova’s statement on Chanel. “We are a very patient and forgiving country. We have forgiven everyone for everything, we have turned the page and made way for the future. However, if this way is a ring road, we will break this vicious circle.”

Vogue Business reported on March 4 that luxury stores in Russia were seeing a three-fold increase in shoppers, with people “trying to buy as much as possible while they can still afford it.” Several days later, luxury brands like Burberry, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Kering announced the temporary closures of their stores in Russia.

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