From cutting buttons of clothes to removing belts from handbags. Rich Russians are suggesting novel solutions so luxury brands can sidestep sanctions and import their favorite haute couture to Russia ‘in parts’.

Russians love their vodka, luxury goods, and their unparalleled lavish lifestyle. Instagram accounts like The Rich Kids of Instagram are a testament as it’s a page dominated by these luxe-loving persons. Call it an urge to spend on the finer things after the relaxation of strict Covid-19 regulations, or sheer habit, there was a noteworthy increase in demand for luxury and premium products. According to Lenta, luxury brands that exited the domestic market reached a record profit from sales in Russia in 2021. These figures were the highest in the last five years. According to reports, the record-holder was Chanel LLC, a French fashion house Chanel subsidiary which from 2020, grew its business by 6.4 billion roubles ($120 million) to 18.44 billion roubles ($350 million). With so much business and an unending scope for more, it is only natural that big brands want to make a foray into the forbidden territory again.

Chanel boutique in St Petersberg also highlights the same situation stating that some foreign organizations are glancing at unheard-of solutions, aka loopholes that allow them to circumvent the sanctions. From delivering clothes in parts to declaring buttons, belts, and other details of the goods separately after cutting them off from the clothes, the biggies of the luxury world are receptive to it all. In some cases, brands play around with the formal rule of not selling luxury goods worth more than 300 euros. This idea helps the goods pass through customs control and are easy to sew back without altering the aesthetics of the garment in any major way; a win-win for the brand and the eager customer.

To comply with EU sanctions, London’s iconic luxury department store Harrods combed through its customer database to warn Russians that it won’t sell them luxury goods worth more than $370 (300 euros). It led to an outrage, with Russian women making their displeasure clear on social media. Ultra-chic Russian women were witnessed cutting down their expensive Chanel bags while accusing the marquee of resorting to ‘Russophobia.’ TV presenter, PR agent, and actress Marina Ermoshkina went a step ahead and exclaimed, ‘Not a single item or brand is worth my love for my motherland and my self-respect.’

Via Instagram / @richrussiankids

It all seems like water under the bridge as the Russian representatives of Chanel, who for several months whiled away time by dusting the office, are entering the market by selling only beauty products. The law-abiding luxury brand takes the safe road home by not violating the formal rule “no more than 300 euros” rule. Many other brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, and retail platforms such as Net-a-Porter, Mr. Porter, Yoox, and The Outnet continue their stand of cancellation of sales of products to Russian buyers. Will the Russian elite that probably wears the pricey Louis Vuttion sleep masks to bed accept their package in pieces to be assembled like IKEA furniture? Someone wise once said- something is better than nothing, and this is a fitting example.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.