19 Feb 2019
Karl Lagerfeld’s right hand Virginie Viard will succeed him at the creative helm of Chanel, the French fashion house announced this Tuesday following the confirmation of the German designer’s death.
“Virginie Viard, director of Chanel’s fashion creation studio and Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by [Chanel CEO] Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on”, the fashion house said in a statement.
When Lagerfeld couldn’t attend Chanel’s Spring 2019 haute couture show in January because he was “too tired”, it was Viard who greeted the audience at the end.
Viard joined Chanel as an intern in 1987, four years after Lagerfeld took on the role of artistic director. Five years later, she moved to Chloé, returning to Chanel in 1997 to lead its fashion creation studio. Basically, she was the one responsible for bringing Lagerfeld's sketches to life with the help of Chanel's atelier.
“Virginie is the most important person, not only for me but also for the atelier, for everything”, said Lagerfeld in the Netflix documentary 7 Days Out, which captures the drama behind the scenes seven days leading up to Chanel’s Spring 2018 haute couture show. “She is my right arm and even if I don’t see her, we are on the phone all the time”.
Although Chanel chose Viard looking to keep Lagerfeld's legacy alive, a 2017 interview for The Telegraph indicates she is likely to inject her own style to future Chanel collections. “I try to please him [Karl], but I also try to surprise him”, she told the British newspaper.
Picture: Bertrand Guay / AFP