Virginie Viard, director of the Chanel Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld's closest associate for more than 30 years, has been chosen by Alain Wertheimer (co-owner of Chanel) to replace the designer who died today February 19, 2019. Wertheimer believes her appointment will ensure the creation of new collections that advanceto the legacy of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.
As director of the fashion studio, Viard currently supervises ready-to-wear, Haute Couture, as well as the Croissière collection and the Métiers d'arts colelction, which showcases all the French craftsmanship.
Viard has been "somewhat of an enigma" to those outside the world of fashion, although she has stepped into the light a bit more in recent years. Lagerfeld clarified that Viard was allowed to use the informal French ‘tu’ instead of ‘vous’ in her interactions with the deceased designer. “Our relationship is fundamental — one of profound affection and a true friendship,” Lagerfeld told The Telegraph.
When Lagerfeld was alive, Viard would translate his sketches (which he would sometimes send via text) and ideas into reality. “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,” she told The Telegraph. Because she’s so involved with Lagerfeld’s process, that could mean that the vision for the house will stay similar after his passing.
At Lagerfeld’s final show for the house, she took a bow solo because Lagerfeld was reportedly too tired to attend. However, while Lagerfeld was a larger-than-life personality, Viard prefers to fly under the radar. She told ‘Elle’ in 2018, “I hate being in the spotlight.” We expect that will change with her formal appointment.