French fashion boss offends Chinese over elitist Paris hotel
The boss of the upmarket French clothing brand Zadig & Voltaire has apologised, after declaring that Chinese tourists would not be allowed in the chic hotel the company plans to open in Paris.
Company founder Thierry Gillier told Women’s Wear Daily fashion journal last month “We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example.”
The comments attracted large numbers of angry messages on social media and websites in China.
“This is obviously racial discrimination. Not every Chinese is uncultivated, there are many more who are cultured”, said one posting, adding “I think this pretentious brand will lose an important market if it really turns down Chinese.”
Gillier said his remarks had been misunderstood and he apologised for any offence caused.
“These reported words do not reflect either my line of thought or my ethics,” he said in a statement released on Thursday. “My remarks were doubtless clumsy and, taken out of their context, I understand they might have hurt my friends from China, France or elsewhere, and I am deeply sorry for that.”
The statement said the hotel would be “an intimate address,” and that Giller “admits he expressed himself in an inappropriate way to explain that this hotel was not suited to mass tourism.”