PARIS — Chanel has responded to online controversy about its advent calendar after being mocked by influencers over the contents of the limited-edition box, resulting in a flood of negative comments on social media in the run-up to its annual Métiers d’Art runway show, due to take place on Tuesday.
Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS, said the French luxury house produced the calendar as part of this year’s celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Chanel No.5 perfume, and it did not expect the negative feedback.
“This controversy is a bit of a shame because it was not what Chanel intended. Chanel thought it would please some of its customers by offering this type of product. Evidently, we see that you have to be careful and therefore, in future, we will certainly be much more cautious,” Pavlovsky told WWD on Monday.
Asked whether this was the first time that Chanel produced an advent calendar, the executive said: “No, I don’t think so, but it wasn’t necessarily for sale.” He added that the 2021 calendar was produced in a very limited run, which was totally sold out.
This year’s edition retails for $825 and contains 27 boxes numbered from five to 31, containing full-size perfume and makeup products, miniatures and souvenirs all stamped with founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s lucky number.
In a video that has been viewed 14.7 million times, TikTok creator Elisa Harmon expressed her disappointment over items including stickers, a picture flip-book, a dustbag and a string bracelet with a wax seal-shaped pendant. She later alleged that Chanel’s TikTok account blocked her.
In an official statement, Chanel said the claim was “absolutely inaccurate,” as the brand is not active on TikTok.
“We have never blocked access to the Chanel TikTok account to anyone, because it is simply not active. It has never been activated, no content has ever been published, it has no subscriber and no subscription. The page therefore appears empty to anyone who visits it,” the house clarified.
“When Ms. Harmon visited our page, she naturally found the usual message that she could not access this account, just like anyone else on the network,” it added.
“We are very committed to sharing our world and our creations with our followers on social networks. Our pages are open to everyone, and millions of followers follow us all over the world. They are of course free to express their feelings and opinions, whether they are enthusiastic or critical, if they respect the rules of good conduct in accordance with the uses of social networks — no defamation, calls to violence, threats, or intimidation,” Chanel said.
“We are aware of the comments that are currently visible under our publications and are sorry that this calendar may have disappointed some people,” it continued.
“Directly inspired by the mythical silhouette of the No.5 bottle, this calendar, only available for a short period, has a unique design and an original content, which makes it a true collector’s item whose value cannot be summed up by the products it contains alone,” Chanel said.
Pavlovsky said a special effort had been made to use more sustainable materials. “I think it is one of the most beautiful ever made, both in terms of design and the materials used,” he said of the calendar, which even Harmon praised for its sophisticated packaging.
“Certainly, next time, we will think of another way to do this type of thing. I think that certain categories of products may be more suitable, in particular beauty — that could be a great idea. In any case, the objective is to promote our products and not to trigger any controversy, and even less to create frustrations or to send the wrong signals,” he said.