Virginie Viard Departs Chanel: A New Era Awaits the Iconic Fashion House

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Virginie Viard is bidding farewell to Chanel after a notable five-year tenure as the artistic director of fashion collections at the prestigious French luxury house.

Virginie Viard Departs Chanel: A New Era Awaits the Iconic Fashion House

Viard ascended to the role following the death of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019, after decades of collaboration with the legendary designer. As Chanel’s artistic director, she followed in the footsteps of Lagerfeld and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, overseeing one of fashion’s most prestigious positions.

Virginie Viard departure

Chanel confirmed Viard’s departure in a statement to CNN, highlighting her ability to modernize the brand while honoring its creative legacy. The statement read, “She was able to renew the codes of the house while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel, and almost thirty years within the house.”

While Chanel has not yet named a successor, the brand assured that an announcement would be made “in due course.” The company expressed gratitude for Viard’s significant contributions, noting, “We thank Virginie for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity, and vitality.”

Leena Nair, Chanel’s chief executive, recently shared with The Business of Fashion that under Viard’s leadership, Chanel’s fashion business saw substantial growth. “Since Virginie took over from Karl, the Chanel fashion business has multiplied by 2.2. The Chanel ready-to-wear business has been multiplied by 2.5, and the ready-to-wear business last year of Chanel grew by 23%.” In 2023, Chanel’s earnings soared by 16%, reaching $19.7 billion.

Virginie Viard and Karl Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld, who passed away in 2019, left an indelible mark on the fashion world, particularly with his transformative work at Chanel. Viard, who began her career at Chanel as an intern in 1987, was Lagerfeld’s trusted deputy for many years. He famously described her as “my right arm and my left arm.”

Viard’s appointment in 2019 was seen as a natural continuation of the brand’s legacy, ensuring the spirit of both Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld remained intact.

The fashion industry is now abuzz with speculation about who will take on the role next. This news follows a series of notable shifts in the industry, including Pierpaolo Piccioli’s departure from Valentino in March and Sarah Burton’s exit from Alexander McQueen in September last year.

Chanel is set to showcase its latest collection at Paris Haute Couture Week in June, anticipated to be Viard’s final presentation for the brand.

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