Virginie Viard – Karl Lagerfeld’s successor at Chanel

It was only on Tuesday that fashion tsar Karl Lagerfeld died surprisingly, now his right hand Virginie Viard takes over the creative management of the Chanel fashion house. Whether she can follow in Lagerfeld’s footsteps remains to be seen. The two have worked closely together for the past 30 years and Karl himself describes them as the most important person in the studio. Karl was the only person to be visited by Viard.

Since Coco Chanel the first woman to lead Chanel

Now Virginie Viard takes over the creative management of the Chanel fashion house. Originally she was the Directrice who was responsible for supporting Karl and making important decisions about outfit allocation at shows. Here we have summarized the milestones of her career for you:

  • born as daughter of a surgeon in Lyon
  • Virgine Viard hosted at the French designer Jacqueline de Ribes
  • Learns costume designer at the theatre and studies film and fashion
  • Went assistant for bags and gloves at the age of 23 with Chanel
  • In the studio she was regarded as a “secret weapon” and what the closest confidante of Karl Lagerfeld was
  • At 27 she is responsible for Haute Couture at Chanel
  • 1992 she is promoted by Karl Lagerfeld to Directrice by his own label
  • At the same time she was also responsible for the costume design of Krzysztof Kieślowskis Cult films “Drei Farben: Blau” with Juliette Binoche and “Drei Farben: White” responsible
  • 1997 Virginie Viard returns to Chanel
  • After her return she is still Directrice at Chanel and is responsible for accessories, prêt-à-porter and haute couture
  • On 18.02.2019 she took over Karl Lagerfeld’s position as head of the creative department at Chanel

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Ahora ella es CHANEL ❤❤❤ Virginie Viard la sucesora en Chanel.La francesa, que llegó a la firma en 1987 como ayudante en el equipo de bordados, era hasta hoy la sombra y el mayor apoyo del creador alemán además de la directora del estudio y la coordinadora de todas las colecciones en las que trabajaba Lagerfeld. Aunque ella misma ha confesado en alguna ocasión que no se considera tan buena creativa como Karl Lagerfeld y que su punto fuerte es el estilismo, podríamos decir con cierta seguridad que Viard es la sucesora lógica del káiser. Lo dijo en una entrevista para Vogue España: "sé traducir exactamente lo que [Karl] quiere". Más aún, la nueva directora creativa de Chanel sabe cómo se trabaja en la casa, domina su lenguaje, conoce al equipo y maneja desde hace muchos años los tempos y las exigencias comerciales que implican trabajar en una marca mayúscula como Chanel. #chanel #virginieviard #fashion #moda

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Virgine Viard as Lagerfeld right hand

Viard has never liked the title “Directrice”. In an interview she revealed “This title is common in France, but I don’t like it. I find all these titles terrible”.
Viard was always used when Lagerfeld had completed his sketches. Together they discussed them. He wanted their opinion, because it was important for him. The fabrics, materials and embroideries of the outfits were also discussed. Viard did not make the clothes, but it was her job to bring them to life by explaining the designs to the seamstresses and “stimulating” their imagination. “Sometimes they show me their first sketch, and it corresponds to the sketch, but the right wit is still missing. Then I explain that Karl meant it differently, that you might have to shorten it here, blousieren there, strengthen the fabric in another place.”

The future of Chanel with Virgine Viard

Now many are wondering what the future of the fashion group will look like and whether everything will change completely with the change of leadership. However, we think this is very unlikely. Karl Lagerfeld revolutionized Chanel but at the same time remained true to his roots. We can expect the same from Virgine Viard. Her style is rather a mixture of denim and rocky leather outfits, always in black, but in her 30 years with Lagerfeld she learned a lot about Chanel and is the label. In addition, in 2017 the company had a turnover of 9.7 billion dollars. A completely new look would therefore be extremely counterproductive.

The responsibility of a Chanel leadership

Virgine Viard’s job is anything but relaxing. It is incredibly complex. Every year, Viard has to create two couture collections, two prêt-à-porter collections and two intermediate collections, as well as the Métiers d’Arts-Defilee, which is always shown in a different metropolis and celebrates the craftsmanship of the company’s own workshops. In addition, there are countless PR appointments. For many designers this would be too much stress, because there are more than enough who have already collapsed under less pressure. But there is confidence that Viard will master this task, because her mentor was none other than Karl Lagerfeld, the Mozart of the fashion world, personally.