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Virginie Viard to succeed Karl Lagerfeld as Chanel’s creative director

Virginie Viard to succeed Karl Lagerfeld as Chanel’s creative director

Taking the helm

Text: Joan Kong


Image: Getty Images

The fashion studio director was Karl’s right-hand woman at the French fashion house

Following the death of Karl Lagerfeld, the future of Chanel will rest in the hands of its newly appointed creative director, Virginie Viard. According to a statement released by the brand, "Virginie Viard, director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld's closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on."

Recommended by the chamberlain of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Viard started out as an intern at Chanel in 1987, four years after Karl Lagerfeld joined as creative director. In 1992, the French designer joined Lagerfeld at his second stint, Chloé, before returning to the iconic fashion house as the Haute Couture coordinator five years later. In a 2017 interview with The Telegraph, she mentioned that "I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d'Art houses, based on Karl's sketches. I coordinate the teams, liaise with suppliers and choose fabrics. Then, of course, I do fittings with Karl. As soon as I receive his sketches, the process begins. I try to please him, but I like to surprise him too."

Their close working relationship was apparent in Chanel's episode in the 7 Days Out documentary series, where Lagerfeld stated that "Virginie is the most important person, not only for me but also for the atelier, for everything. She is my right arm and even if I don't see her, we are on the phone all the time." Virginie Viard has joined Lagerfeld for the finale of several shows, and took the final bow in Lagerfeld's place at Chanel's haute couture show in Paris last month, as the brand revealed that the designer "was feeling tired". The French designer will now be the first woman to take the helm at Chanel since Coco Chanel herself.

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