Virginie Viard acknowledges the crowd during the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2019 show.
Virginie Viard acknowledges the crowd during the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2019 show.
Image: Getty Images / Dominique Charriau

CEO Alain Wertheimer has announced that Virginie Viard will succeed Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. This comes after the news that the iconic fashion designer passed away in Paris on February 19 2019. Lagerfeld was the creative director for the fashion house since 1983.

Karl Lagerfeld was an extraordinarily creative individual, whose iconic style and contribution to the fashion industry will long endure. He reinvented the brand’s codes created by Gabrielle Chanel: the Chanel jacket and suit, the little black dress, the precious tweeds, the two-tone shoes, the quilted handbags, the pearls and costume jewellery. Regarding Gabrielle Chanel, he said, “My job is not to do what she did, but what she would have done. The good thing about Chanel is it is an idea you can adapt to many things.”

And so has the time come for Chanel to look to a new future – one that pays tribute to and follows the path of Karl Lagerfeld – in Virginie Viard. But who exactly is Virginie Viard?

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT VIARD:

1. She is, quite literally, Karl Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman. She is responsible for making Karl’s collections come to life. In an interview with The Telegraph she says, "I co-ordinate the teams, liaise with suppliers and choose fabrics. Then, of course, I do fittings with Karl. As soon as I receive his sketches, the process begins. I try to please him, but I like to surprise him too." 

WATCH | Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld dies:

2. She is the Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio. She joined Chanel four years after Karl, starting as an intern in haute-couture embroidery in 1987.

3. She has been Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years. She even followed him to Chloé during a five-year stint.

4. Karl Lagerfeld had a signature style: grey ponytail, fingerless gloves, black sunglasses. And she too, has a ‘look’: porcelain complexion, kohl-rimmed eyes and often found sporting skinny jeans.

5. Her and Karl were real-life besties, not just colleagues. Karl has publicly glowed about their relationship, saying: "Our relationship is fundamental – one of profound affection and a true friendship." 

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