Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Virginie Viard to succeed Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel

The designer's second-in-command took a bow at the end of Chanel's show in January

Karl Lagerfeld with Virginie Viard at the end of Chanel's spring/summer 2019 ready-to-wear show in Paris last October. AFP
Karl Lagerfeld with Virginie Viard at the end of Chanel's spring/summer 2019 ready-to-wear show in Paris last October. AFP

Karl Lagerfeld's second-in-command at Chanel, Virginie Viard, will succeed the house's artistic director, who died on February 19. The brand said on its Instagram page: "Virginie Viard, director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on."

Viard began working at Chanel as an intern in 1987, just four years after Lagerfeld himself joined the French maison. In the decades since, Lagerfeld came to describe Viard as "my right hand and my left hand". She even followed Lagerfeld to Chloe for five years in the 1990s, before returning to Chanel.

Viard, who has said in the past that she's not too fond of the spotlight, stepped in for her mentor and friend when he was unable to take a bow at the end of Chanel's latest haute couture show, held in Paris in January. Last October, she joined Lagerfeld for his bow after a show at the Grand Palais.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 French fashion studio director of Chanel Virginie Viard (L), flanked by Italian model Vittoria Ceretti, acknowledges the audience at the end of the Chanel Spring-Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection fashion show at the Grand Palais in Paris. Virginie Viard, Lagerfeld's right hand person, will be the successor of late German designer Karl Lagerfeld, and will become the fashion designer of Chanel according to a statement of the French fashion house. German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85, it was announced on February 19, 2019. / AFP / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT
Virginie Viard with model Vittoria Ceretti at the end of Chanel's haute couture show on January 22. AFP

It remains to be seen if, as chief designer, Viard will be as prolific as Lagerfeld, who famously created ready-to-wear, cruise, pre-fall and two haute couture collections for Chanel every season, as well as multiple collections for Fendi and his own eponymous brand.

Updated: February 19, 2019 07:51 PM

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