Virginie Viard Is Leaving Chanel

The artistic director is departing the label after 30 years

by Aaron Royce
Virginie Viard, Chanel,

Virginie Viard and Chanel are officially parting ways.

According to Vogue Business, Viard is leaving Chanel after 30 years at the brand. The designer’s tenure at the house includes the last five years as its artistic director, following Karl Lagerfeld’s death in February 2019. She was notably the house’s third creative director after Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel herself.

Chanel, Virginie Viard

Chanel’s Virginie Viard (IMaxTree)

“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,” Chanel said in a statement. “A new creative organisation will be announced in due course. Chanel would like to thank Virginie Viard for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity and vitality.”

Viard first joined Chanel in 1987 as a haute couture embroidery intern, according to Haute Living. Lagerfeld later poached her to work at Chloé during his tenure there, where she worked in costume design with actress Isabelle Yasmina Adjani. By 2000, Viard resumed her design career at Chanel—and has remained there ever since.

Chanel’s 2022 Metiers d’Art show in Florence (Courtesy)

Throughout her role as Chanel’s creative director, Viard emphasized Coco’s background, interests, and hobbies—as well as Chanel’s design signatures, French history, and notable landmarks—across her collections. The first, held for the Cruise 2020 collection, was inspired by Chanel’s love of travel and set in a grand train station display in the Grand Palais. Viard’s subsequent shows and collections often drew from Coco Chanel’s own history, including the interior and exterior of the designer’s Rue Cambon apartment—most virally seen in the label’s Spring 2020 show, where Gigi Hadid halted comedian crasher Marie S’Infiltre. Chanel’s background in Aubazine, Provence’s Carrières de Lumières, and the Seine riverside, as well as her brand’s signature camellias, buttons, tweed, and ties to Hollywood all received their own collections, as well.

Chanel’s Fall 2020 fashion show (IMaxTree)

Chanel received a relaxed, feminine treatment under Viard’s leadership. Many of her ready-to-wear collections emphasized mix-and-match separates, including logo-printed and sequined denim, colorful tweed jackets, and versatile minidresses. Most included heeled, wedged, printed, and color-coordinated versions of the brand’s Mary Jane and cap-toed flats, as well as jewelry accented with pearls, crystals, bows, and colorful enamel—plus a vast array of Classic handbags and her signature Chanel 22 tote bag. Similar details were also seen in her couture collections, where dresses and gowns were covered in embroidery, lace, and floral prints.

As for who will succeed Viard at Chanel? The fashion community is already ablaze with predictions, including Pierpaolo Piccioli, Marc Jacobs, Sarah Burton, Jeremy Scott, and Tom Ford. Style Not Com’s Beka Gvishiani shared a timeline on Instagram, explaining Chanel needs to name a successor to begin its Spring 2025 ready-to-wear collection—which, alternatively, could be designed by its in-house team if an appointment isn’t made soon. However the cards may fall, Viard will still take her final bow on June 25 at Chanel’s Fall 2025 couture show.

Stay tuned for more updates as this story develops.

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