Who Will Replace Virginie Viard at Chanel?

Industry insiders are already discussing the brand's next possible creative director

by Aaron Royce

Virginie Viard is officially leaving Chanel. After the news broke for the brand’s creative director of five years, there’s only one question on everyone’s lips: who’s next? Luckily, there’s a wide crop of designers who are contenders for the job, whether they’re currently on the hunt for their next role or facing contract shifts—including Hedi Slimane, Sarah Burton, Jeremy Scott, and more. Though the media and fashion industries have been speculating left and right, one thing’s for sure: whoever gets the job will have the most coveted creative director role in all of fashion. “Chanel is a legendary house rich with codes and an incredible archive,” said Bryanboy on Twitter. “Why roll the dice and gamble it all with something radical? Either way it’s all very exciting. Let the hunger games begin!”

Below, we’re reviewing who Chanel’s next creative director could be—and what everyone’s saying about it.

Sarah Burton

Since her celebrated tenure as Alexander McQueen’s creative director ended in 2023, Sarah Burton has been flying solo. Due to her successful run at the brand—and her role in carrying a buzzy modern label, as the second creative director only to McQueen himself—she’s a natural fit to lead the ship at Chanel, particularly continuing its female-led ethos. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Sarah Burton attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 at London Coliseum on November 23, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane, Celine’s current creative director, is nearing the end of his contract at the French brand—with whispers of his own successor on the horizon. With potential free time on his hands, as well as a transformative past creative director role at Saint Laurent under his belt, Slimane could bring Chanel a nonchalant edge that sells like hotcakes—and his history with the brand is deep, as a longtime friend of Chanel’s late creative director Karl Lagerfeld. “Currently, Hedi is dominating at Celine, and his work in product there really, really shows—I haven’t met a fashion designer that has not gone to Celine and bought something and been very happy with the purchase,” said HauteLeMode’s Luke Meagher on Instagram. “And as for fashion lovers, I think he might be able to synthesize the Chanel identity and make it a little bit more modern and also commercial to a younger clientele.”

Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane (Patrick McMullan)

Pierpaolo Piccioli

An instant name that’s on everyone’s lips is Pierpaolo Piccioli. Earlier this year, the celebrated designer announced his departure from Valentino—which he led as creative director since 2008. With an editor and celebrity-beloved tenure already under his way, the industry darling is a contender.

Pierpaolo Piccioli (Saskia Kawaks)

Marc Jacobs

As a designer with experience leading large houses and his own brand for years (first Perry Ellis, then Louis Vuitton), Jacobs could be a natural fit as Chanel’s creative director. With era-defining it-bags and accessories launched during his Vuitton tenure, as well as the resurgence in his own brand’s popularity, Jacobs undeniably knows his way around a high fashion atelier. There’s also the added bonus of him already being a Chanel customer and admirer, often seen in the label’s ready-to-wear and handbags—which could bring future collections a lovingly personal touch.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs (Patrick McMullan)

Jeremy Scott

After leaving Moschino in 2023, Jeremy Scott—known for his camp-focused designs and celebrity following—could be a whimsical choice as Chanel’s creative director. A similar ethos could be seen in Karl Lagerfeld’s own designs for the brand’s themed collections, particularly its novelty accessories.”It’s been more than a year [since] he left Moschino, so that’s also one name that people are speculating,” said IDeserveCouture’s Hasan Besovic in a new Instagram Reel.

Jeremy Scott (Getty Images)

Tom Ford

Tom Ford’s name has also been floated as a potential Chanel successor. After selling his fashion brand to Estée Lauder for approximately $2.3 billion in 2022, Ford has been laying low in the fashion world. A new appointment at Chanel would continue his design career, which defined similarly storied  brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent in the early 2000’s.

Tom Ford (BFA)

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