Introducing Virginie Viard: The woman succeeding Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel

Meet the woman who would be king
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Introducing Virginie Viard: The woman succeeding Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel

Quietly, discreetly and respectfully, Chanel ended speculation about Karl’s successor by announcing, “Virginie Viard, Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on.”

Since starting her career in costume design, followed by interning at Chanel then, at Karl’s suggestion, going on to work at Chloé, she is known as Karl’s right hand. “Virginie is the most important person, not only for me but also for the atelier, for everything,” he once declared.

Describing their working relationship, Virginie explained, “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.”

In a nod to this appointment, Virginie has accompanied Karl on his finale bow for the SS19 ready-to-wear show, Cruise 2019, and the recent Métiers d’Art show in New York, and took the bow on Karl’s behalf at the SS19 Couture show in January. Virginie will present Karl’s final collection for Chanel for AW19 at Paris Fashion Week. There will be tears.

Photo: Getty Images