Bottega Veneta may be in for some trouble. For a little over 24 hours now, a video of a Russian customer and a shop assistant at the Bottega Veneta store in Florence has been doing the rounds on the Internet, while inviting fury from many.
The viral clip shows the shop assistant refusing services to the visitor stating that she is not allowed to sell items to customers of Russian origin. To this, the outraged customer asks – “And if I come with a friend with an Italian passport, can he buy the jacket for me?”
The shop assistant, who was aware that she is being filmed replies, ‘Yes, he can.” However, little was she aware of the consequences that would follow. The video quickly escalated on the internet, inviting a series of negative reviews.
So much so that the store had to close its Google Maps listing after negative comments pulled its ratings down to 1 star. However, according to some, the move was not a display of ‘Russophobia’ but a mere application of the EU sanctions in force since last March relating to exports.
The said legislation reads: ‘The Commission Services, following requests from the Member States, have clarified how the prohibition on exporting, directly or indirectly, the luxury goods listed in Annex XVIII to any natural or legal person, entity, or body in Russia, or for use in Russia, should apply and, in particular, how the prohibition on exporting should be understood to the extent that the value of the goods exceeds EUR 300 per item.’
Regardless of the motive, Bottega Veneta isn’t the first brand to apply a Russia Ban. In April, Chanel also announced its decision to stop selling to Russian customers in boutiques across the world. Any thoughts on the controversy?