Virginie Viard to Depart Chanel

Virginie Viard to Depart Chanel. Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photo Courtesy: Chanel.

Chanel has announced a significant transition within its ranks: Virginie Viard, the brand’s creative director, will be leaving the Parisian luxury house after a notable 30-year tenure. Viard, who has been at the helm as the artistic director for the past five years, will conclude her role with the presentation of Chanel’s Fall Winter 2024 -2025 collection on June 25 at the Opéra Garnier, during Paris Haute Couture Week.

A Legacy of Dedication and Innovation

Viard’s journey at Chanel began in 1987, marking the start of a long-standing collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld. Together, they shaped the direction of Chanel, with Viard initially behind the scenes as Lagerfeld’s trusted deputy. Following Lagerfeld’s death in 2019, Viard took over as head of design, seamlessly continuing the legacy of innovation and style that Chanel is known for. Under her leadership, Viard was tasked with the formidable challenge of renewing the codes of the House while maintaining fidelity to its esteemed heritage.

Chanel’s statement highlighted the graceful transition, stating, “Chanel confirms 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.”

Reflecting on Viard’s Contributions and the Path Ahead

The company expressed its gratitude for Viard’s remarkable contributions, emphasizing her role in enhancing Chanel’s repertoire with creativity and vitality. “Chanel would like to thank Virginie Viard for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity, and vitality. A new chapter is opening for Chanel Mode. We are confident in the teams’ ability to ensure the continuity of the collections during this period of transition,” Chanel added.

This announcement sets the stage for a new era at Chanel, with a future creative reorganization to be declared in due time. The focus now turns to Viard’s final showcase, which is expected to be a significant event, symbolizing both an end and a beginning for the historic fashion house.

Beyond the Runway

Reflecting on her career, Virginie Viard’s journey has been closely intertwined with Karl Lagerfeld’s, contributing significantly to the brand’s global acclaim. As Lagerfeld’s health began to decline in 2017, he publicly recognized Viard as his creative partner, preparing her to continue Chanel’s legacy after his departure in 2019. Her ascent to the role of creative director was a testament to her deep understanding of the brand and her unique ability to blend tradition with contemporary flair.

Despite challenges and the high expectations set by Lagerfeld’s tenure, Viard managed to uphold the brand’s prestige, albeit facing criticism from some quarters for not completely filling Lagerfeld’s shoes. Her departure raises important questions about the future of fashion leadership and the emergence of new talents ready to steer the old guards’ legacy.

As Virginie Viard prepares to depart Chanel, she leaves behind a legacy of dedication, artistry, and a deep respect for Chanel’s history, paving the way for the next generation of fashion innovators. The industry watches eagerly to see who will next take the reins and how they will continue to evolve the illustrious brand. Chanel, synonymous with timeless style and innovation, stands at the threshold of a new era.

Posted from Paris, 4th Arrondissement, France.