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Virginie Viard to Depart Chanel After Five Years As Artistic Director

And so the game of fashion musical chairs continues...

It was the announcement heard around the world.

Late last night, Paris time, as New York’s fashion crowd was settling into their post-work drinks, the House of Chanel announced that Virginie Viard would be stepping down from her role as artistic director after five years at the brand’s helm.

While Viard will go down in House history for taking over the reins from the late Karl Lagerfeld following his passing, the designer spent 3 decades working at Chanel. She was Lagerfeld’s most trusted design partner during his reign, making her a natural fit to succeed him following his death in 2019.

Youthfulness Met Heritage Under Viard’s Reign

While at the brand’s helm, Viard made her mark by fusing a youthful spirit with Chanel’s most important House codes. In 2022, Viard debuted the 22 bag, one of the brand’s most relaxed, edgy bags, clearly catering to the new generation of Chanel shoppers. Like it or not, it was a hit.

Viard also oversaw growth in the brand’s RTW, which had more than doubled its sales during her tenure, the Financial Times reported.

Chanel Return to Deauville
Models walk the Deauville-inspired runway during Chanel’s Fall 2024 presentation.

For Fall 2024, Viard returned to Deauville, finding inspiration in the same place as Gabrielle Chanel, allowing a new generation to experience a small part of old Chanel. A statement from the House expressed deep gratitude for Viard’s work, stating in part, “She was able to renew the codes of the House while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel.”

Sources told Business of Fashion teams were only briefed on Viard’s departure yesterday, leaving minimal time for goodbyes. It’s not yet been said who will replace Viard, but with so many big changes happening in the last few years and one of the top seats in fashion now empty, all eyes will certainly be on Chanel.

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Aspen
Aspen
18 days ago

Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out ✌️

Kristin Brook
Kristin Brook
18 days ago

I really enjoyed her work during her tenure at Chanel and I just adore her pieces. She did a good job navigating the transition after KL. It’s like an impossible task! I look forward to the new artistic director too and I wish her the very best!

Lola
Lola
17 days ago

The best fashion related news this year!

Layo
Layo
17 days ago

All the best to her but her handbag designs were uninspired, to put it mildly. Hopefully, whoever takes her place will pick up where Lagerfeld left off and pushes the designs forward.

Dingdangdz
Dingdangdz
17 days ago

No matter how youthful the clothes look, they don’t fit into the youth’s spending budget! Don’t forget, the past five years were pandemic time, all luxury brands increased sales like crazy. And I don’t think generation Z will become the new customer base for the brand in the near future. Her design is not appealing to me, quite awkward for the luxury target base who are mostly not young anymore.

BLee
BLee
9 days ago
Reply to  Dingdangdz

the average age of luxury consumers in China is 28 years old 

Adelylt
Adelylt
17 days ago
Reply to  Dingdangdz

You took the words right out of my mouth. I really lost it when they got Jennie from BlackPink to become a Brand Ambassador in the hope of attracting youth. Nothing against the girls but their image was so incongruent with the brands they were supposed to represent.

I get the need to build a pipeline of future consumers, but do brands seriously think youth only discover luxury through singers, actresses, and influencers? Growing up, I learnt about heritage and luxury brands through my mums and aunts as much as I did through SATC.

Momin4inch
Momin4inch
17 days ago

Not a great loss.

Tammy Tampa
Tammy Tampa
15 days ago

I m going to miss her. I thought her collections were fantastic—really incredible clothes. Half my closet is recent Chanel.

jimmy
jimmy
15 days ago

best news ever

Suz
Suz
14 days ago

Love my 22! Thanks Virginie x