No Ikea shelves, no Levis: Western retail exodus from Russia is underway

No Ikea shelves, no Levis: Western retail exodus from Russia is underway

Ms Townsend said luxury brands could also be nervous about selling in Russia as many of the country’s wealthiest people increasingly faced sanctions.

“Usually when you’re going to spend a lot of money on a very expensive luxury brand, you don’t expect the store to take your passport and see if you’re on a sanctions list,” she said. . “If they were to do that, they could lose customers.”

The escalating crisis has coincided with a string of fashion shows in Milan and Paris this month, events that not so long ago were front row crowded with young brides of oligarchs , who have been hailed as influencers and have proven to be catnip for photographers.

Today nearly every luxury executive was quick to say their main concern was for their employees in Russia, rather than condemning the actions of the Russian government, although in the past week designers have moved from s refrain from commenting on almost universally – and publicly – professing their support for peace in the form of voiceovers at shows or addenda to their show notes.

Most major retailers and brands, including Ikea and Apple, have announced donations to help Ukrainians driven from their homes by the conflict. At the Givenchy show, a note left on each seat said the brand had donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross and also offered guests a QR code to donate. At Stella McCartney, the show’s notes said the brand was “dedicated to those affected by the war in Ukraine” and that it had donated for emergency support to Ukrainians.

Both brands are owned by LVMH, although the biggest runway statement was made by Kering-owned Balenciaga, where a giant T-shirt in the colors of the Ukrainian flag was placed on each seat, along with a statement designer, Demna, who fled Georgia as a child. Salma Hayek Pinault quickly put on her T-shirt and her husband, François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive, draped his over her shoulders. The show itself, which featured models holding trash bags and trudging through a snowstorm, was the only one to directly confront the plight of refugees. The creator, however, has been criticized on social media for dramatizing the ravages of war in an ultimately commercial context.