Chanel’s Artistic Director Virginie Viard Is Stepping Down

marseille, france may 02 editorial use only for non editorial use please seek approval from fashion house designer virginie viard walks the runway during the chanel cruise 2024 2025 show on may 02, 2024 in marseille, france photo by marc piaseckigetty images
Chanel’s Artistic Director Is Stepping DownMarc Piasecki
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This evening, Chanel announced that Virginie Viard would be stepping down from her duties as the house’s artistic director. She’s held the position for the last five years but has worked for Chanel for three decades. Viard was best known as Karl Lagerfeld’s closest design confidant and his number two up until she took the creative reins at the house after he passed away in 2016. In a statement, Chanel said that they “confirm the departure of Virginie Viard after a rich collaboration of five years as artistic director of fashion collections, during which she was able to renew the codes of the house while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel, and almost thirty years within the house.” The Chanel team also thanked Viard “for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity, and vitality.” They mentioned that a new creative organization would be announced soon.

During her tenure as artistic director, Viard worked to continue Lagerfeld’s design legacy while also infusing her youth-minded approach, introducing designs that spoke to a new generation of Chanel customers with a discerning eye and a penchant for playful yet pragmatic clothes. Looking back at her last three collections, shown in Manchester and Marseilles, and Paris by way of a theatrical, manmade boardwalk meant to evoke Deauville, France, it’s now apparent that they may have represented some sort of a swan song trilogy–all of them were locations that held special creative meaning to Viard. These places inspired her and carried her through her prolific career at Chanel.

Rumors about who will replace her are already swirling, with one designer, Hedi Slimane, as the top contender. It will be an exciting new dawn for Chanel, but Viard’s immense talent and vision for the future of the house will be missed. Having a woman at the helm of Chanel likely would have made the house’s founder proud. Here’s to Viard and whatever fashion space she conquers next.

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