Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The brand’s just launched its 2019 model-inspired calendar, but has faced criticism over casting a white model
Chanel, the Korean-based fashion brand known for its luxurious Yves Saint Laurent bags, has come under fire for booking a white model to appear in its new 2019 Advent Calendar campaign.
Some of the company’s fans were upset, writing on social media that it “kinda sucks” that the calendar was only shot by a white photographer, one photographer, with a few Singaporean models.
Chanel has responded to the outcry, but insists that it used only the best models.
“Chanel’s 2019 Advent Calendar pictures were shot by Hong Kong-based Nai Sun and Zeng Fan, a fine choice for this artistic campaign,” the brand said in a statement.
“We are proud of our diverse team that includes all different sorts of people and we were not in a position to accommodate requests from our preferred local photographers.”
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One Instagram user posted a picture of Taiwanese model Jenni Wong, who has over 14,000 followers, in the original Chanel pictures
“We understand this announcement caused some concern for our Asian followers, and we apologise for this,” the statement continued.
The company now plans to make the calendar available in all four Asian-speaking countries where it operates.
“We will be working with our local teams to make sure they are equipped to efficiently take the calendar onto distribution wherever it is sold,” Chanel said.
Image copyright AFP Image caption One fashion writer, who asked not to be named, said Chanel had missed an opportunity to represent Asians well
The episode mirrors one that saw Chanel come under fire a few years ago for a calendar-driven social media campaign, when it posted pictures of a white model who shared all of her last names with Coco Chanel and then captioned the shots with hashtag #SeeAllHerfaces.
They said at the time that they intended to focus on diversity, rather than skin colour, in the campaign.
Now, its latest model-based campaign has divided opinion.
One fashion writer, who asked not to be named, told the BBC the brand had missed an opportunity to represent Asians well.
“Chanel, if you’re going to do that, you don’t have to sell 24 black and white, Parisian-style models like Candice Swanepoel or Naomi Campbell,” she said.
“Chanel has no reason to have her except to sell bags, and that is highly problematic.”
Image copyright PA Image caption The brand released its face brandisg while critics felt the calendar used black, white and Asian models differently
The dispute came as Chanel’s spokesman made waves in another Instagram posting – this time over Chinese New Year.
The picture showed a handful of Chanel’s “official phones” as cards – printed with the words: “Happy Chinese New Year! Both buyers and consumers can look forward to great new offers. In support of Chinese New Year, you can now also buy one at Chanel.”
But, one woman said that they looked like homophobic “matrimonial cards”.
Chanel’s spokesman defended the image as being “entirely tongue-in-cheek”.
“Chanel’s use of Chinese New Year cards is meant to pay homage to the Chinese and Chinese people,” he said.