After shutting its stores in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Chanel is stopping customers outside the country from buying bags they intend to use there.
The luxury brand's move is aimed at implementing European Union sanctions that ban the export of luxury goods costing more than 300 euros ($328) to Russia. The bloc has also forbidden the sale of such goods to individuals planning to use them in Russia.
"We have rolled out a process to ask clients for whom we do not know the main residency to confirm that the items they are purchasing will not be used in Russia," said a spokesperson for the French luxury brand, adding that this has caused "disappointment" to some of customers. Chanel is "working on improving this approach," the spokesperson said.
This means Chanel sales assistants can ask Russian customers whether they intend to use 8,250-euro Chanel flap bags in Russia, even if they're buying them in Dubai, where Russians are free to travel. The quilted bags are adorned with the brand's signature double-C clasp.
The checks show how luxury brands are navigating the sanctions while facing backlash on social media from influencers accusing the brand of Russophobia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also criticized Chanel's controls on Twitter.
Luxury brands including Chanel have shut their stores in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. Chanel announced the closing of its boutiques in Russia on March 4 and stopped delivering and suspended its e-commerce a few days before that, the spokesperson said.