Virginie Viard Exits Chanel

2 min read
Virginie Viard taking a bow after the Chanel 2022 Autumn Winter Ready to Wear show. Image: Spotlight/Launchmetrics.

Virginie Viard taking a bow after the Chanel 2023 Spring Summer Ready to Wear show. Image: Spotlight/Launchmetrics.

After five years serving as the Chanel Artistic Director of fashion collections, Virginie Viard is exiting. The designer succeeded Karl Lagerfeld in 2019. She first joined the house in 1987. Viard, the only woman aside from Coco Chanel herself to hold one of fashion’s most prestigious roles.

In a press statement to CNN, Chanel confirmed Viard’s departure, noting that during her tenure, “she was able to renew the codes of the house while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel, and almost thirty years within the house.”

Despite the French house’s profits soaring last year by 16 percent to $19.7 billion. Some industry insiders have unofficially said her ready-to-wear collections have not seen significant success. There are also unconfirmed reports of an impending reshuffle at the top executive levels.

No successor has been named yet, but the brand added that an announcement would be made “in due course.” Chanel expressed its gratitude towards Viard “for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity, and vitality.”

The rumour mill suggests Hedi Slimane, currently at Céline, as the leading candidate to replace Viard, though nothing has been confirmed. During Karl Lagerfeld’s tenure, the late designer once noted that Haider Ackermann would be a formidable replacement, though he is currently engaged with Canada Goose as its first-ever Creative Director.

Lagerfeld’s death in 2019 significantly impacted the fashion world. Known for his work at both Fendi and his own label, his most notable contributions were at Chanel. The news of Viard’s departure follows a series of high-profile changes in the industry, including Pierpaolo Piccioli’s departure from Valentino after eight years and Alessandro Michele, formerly of Gucci, stepping into the role. British designer Sarah Burton also stepped down from Alexander McQueen in September last year.