Chanel’s global ad featuring an Asian model sees Chinese netizens divided over Asian beauty ideals

The recent video ad for luxury brand Chanel has drawn mixed reactions from Chinese netizens, with many wondering if the Asian model was chosen to belittle Chinese citizens. The luxury brand released three video ads globally for the launch of its “Hydra Beauty” skincare series, featuring white, black and Asian girls as models respectively. However, the video with the Asian model was called out by Chinese netizens for choosing a model they described as stereotype Asian faces, and vilify Asians. Many have also called his features such as the wide eyes and nose.

However, some netizens commented on Chanel’s Weibo account that the model featured in the video ad is Korean Bomi Youn, and said that East and West aesthetics should be diversified. The model has worked with various brands and magazines such as Triumph, Fendi, W Magazine, vogue and more.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING contacted Chanel for a statement.

In recent times, global luxury brands have often faced ire from Chinese netizens for their depiction of Asian faces. Last year, Dior faced backlash in China after an image of a dark-skinned Chinese model in traditional attire holding a Dior bag made the rounds. The image has polarized netizens, with some saying the brand “smears” the image of Chinese women, while others defended the photo depicting a type of beauty different from the usual attributes of fair skin and big eyes.

More recently, Dior also faced another blow in China after introducing a midi-length pleated skirt, which is said to resemble an ancient Chinese horse-head skirt. Also known as “ma mian qun”, the ancient skirt dates back to the Song dynasty of the 10th century and was commonly worn by women in the Ming and Qing dynasties. An opinion piece on People.cn accused the Dior skirt of resembling the Chinese horse-head skirt: “When many details are the same, why is it shamelessly called a ‘new design’? and a ‘distinctive Dior silhouette’?” questioned the comment posted by People.cn on July 16, 2022.

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