Following the death of Karl Lagerfeld, the question on everybody’s mind was, who will succeed the iconic German designer, who joined Chanel in 1983? Speaking to The New York Times at the time of his appointment, Lagerfeld commented, “Everybody said, ‘Don’t touch it, it’s dead, it will never come back.’ But by then I thought it was a challenge.” The designer would go on to revive what was publicly perceived as a near-dead brand by redefining the maison’s DNA in a contemporary and fresh way.
The fashion house has just confirmed that Virginie Viard, director of Chanel’s fashion creative studio and Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel, with the creative work for the collections. The decision comes “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on,” reads Chanel’s statement.
Viard notably took the final bow at the label’s SS19 show with Lagerfeld and was asked by the late designer to represent him at the couture show this past January. Viard started her tenure at Chanel in 1987 after a family friend recommended her to Lagerfeld for an internship. She even followed him to Chloé in 1992 and went back to Chanel with him in 1997. She soon earned herself the title of “Karl’s right-hand woman.”
In a previous interview with The Telegraph, Viard said, “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.”
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