Chanel apologises for ‘leopard girl’ calendar campaign

Projeckts do Chanel has issued an apology after its $1,000 (£810) Christmas advent calendar drawing criticism on social media Chanel is sorry for using a blogger’s familiar Halloween costume to promote its Christmas calendar,…

Chanel apologises for 'leopard girl' calendar campaign

Projeckts do Chanel has issued an apology after its $1,000 (£810) Christmas advent calendar drawing criticism on social media

Chanel is sorry for using a blogger’s familiar Halloween costume to promote its Christmas calendar, instead of Christian women holding decorative leis.

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Chanel’s head of image, Damir Doma, drew the fanfare by tweeting a photo of blogger Elif Kulmaz sitting in a dog’s bed in a leopard costume, saying: “Tomorrow’s campaign preview with @efelymaz #Chanel4ever. Stay tuned”.

Another photo in which she poses in a sailor-style costume with a leopard carrying an umbrella spread more than 17,000 comments and shares.

Kulmaz, 26, said in an Instagram post: “I’m thrilled to join the #Chanel4ever family … it’s such an honour. To be able to work with such a creative, strong brand and share its message in such a personal way is deeply humbling.”

Kulmaz, whose range of fashion and makeup accounts has more than 77,000 followers, had worn the leopard costume several times before and created the Twitter hashtag #Hello, Hello It’s Leopards.

Blogger Elif Kulmaz (@efelymaz) “Leopards don’t change who they are on the outside.” #HelloItsLeopards 🐼🐽 📷 @chanceminarrophotography 🐬🐸

The designer said in a statement: “Sorry. We clearly didn’t expect the backlash the Cocoisque campaign received.”

The label said it was launching a serious campaign to honour women “who have been and continue to stand for equality and acceptance”, and clarified that the company did not mean to imply that being a woman was equivalent to wearing a leopard costume.

Kulmaz, a Muslim from Istanbul, said that two Chanel employees approached her and asked for a photo to be used with the leopard costume, leading to the decision to use her outfit rather than use another actress.

The retailer House of Fraser also used the leopard costume for a Facebook promotion, and its website lists the leopard embroidered Chanel furry tote bag with a model holding the leopard leash as a promotion for its Christmas section.

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House of Fraser said: “We are very sorry to our customers, they were not aware the picture was a promotional image we used as an added embellishment and was in no way in association with this campaign. We are working to make changes to our systems and processes to prevent this ever happening again.”

But some users and brands are still using the leopard. This week French e-tailer Monparie Rouge parage posted an image of model Ronanne Strain dressed in an orange leopard outfit wielding a whip. While it did not indicate in the caption that it was promoting Chanel, commenters on Twitter were quick to criticise the retailer for the use of images.

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