US talk show host Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism during a recent visit to Switzerland.
Winfrey, one of the world’s richest women, was apparently told the bags on display were “too expensive” for her.
Her claims, made to a US television programme, come amid a political row over plans by some Swiss towns to ban asylum-seekers from some public places.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Berne says human rights groups have likened the plans – which include banning asylum-seekers from swimming pools, playing fields and libraries – to apartheid.
Winfrey said she left the shop calmly without arguing, but that the experience was proof that racism continues to be a problem.
“There’s two different ways to handle it,” she said.
“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing… but it still exists, of course it does.”
Shop owner Trudy Gotz told the BBC that an assistant had shown Winfrey several other items before the “misunderstanding” over a $35,000 bag, which was kept behind a screen.
Winfrey’s claims are a public relations disaster for Switzerland, our correspondent says.
About 48,000 people are currently seeking asylum in Switzerland. It has twice as many asylum seekers as the European average.
Officials say the curbs, which will also see asylum-seekers housed in special centres, are aimed at preventing tensions with residents.
The country’s asylum laws were tightened in June.