A Lady to Lead Chanel
The mastermind and creative director behind luxury fashion houses Fendi and Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, has broken both news and hearts today with the announcement of his passing at 85 years old. Lagerfeld’s death is undoubtedly a major loss to the industry. His impact is obvious as numerous high-ranking fashion industry figures and publications posted heartfelt tributes to him across social media platforms today, such as supermodel Naomi Campbell, head of fashion at Instagram Eva Chen and musician Rihanna. It is widely understood that Lagerfeld has made the world more beautiful and daring throughout his career, inspiring and enlightening creatives not only through his prolific fashion collections, but with his photography and film as well.
According to a BBC article, Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour lamented, "Today the world lost a giant among men.”
His passing can only leave people with the burning question of who will take over as the brand’s new Creative Director. Lagerfeld served as Creative Director for Chanel for 36 years, overseeing the evolution of the brand decade after decade while never failing to maintain Chanel’s signature attitude and prestige. Will it even be possible to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Karl Lagerfeld?
“Virginie Viard, Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio and 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,” the statement read.
Viard has been working with Lagerfeld for approximately 32 years. She started at Chanel in 1987 as an intern, four years after Lagerfeld’s introduction to the company. She was with the brand from the start, previously working as the Creative Studio Director. In 1992, she left Chanel to work alongside Lagerfeld at Chloé for five years. When Lagerfeld returned to Chanel in 1997, she took on the role of coordinator for haute couture, and then ready-to-wear in 2000. She is a prominent image in Lagerfeld’s work. According to Lagerfeld, the legend himself, Viard is his “right and left hand.” She ended up filling in for him during the SS 19 RTW show that he could not attend due to his health.
It is extremely exciting to have a woman take over the reins at Chanel. The last time we saw a woman in control of Chanel was back in 1910 when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel introduced the brand herself. For years now, Viard has been working with Lagerfeld in the design, sketching and fitting processes, giving her the credibility she needs to be the successor to the brand.