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    Virginie Viard steps down as Chanel’s creative director

    Nicole Benhar

    After working 30 years with the brand, including five years as creative director

    After five years as Chanel’s creative director, Virginie Viard, has stepped down from her position.

    Viard took charge of the House after the fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld's passing as his handpicked successor. She is only the third creative director of Chanel, following Lagerfeld and the founder, Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel.

    The French luxury house announced her exit on Wednesday with a statement, “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.” A new designer has not yet been appointed.

    Eric Pfrunder, Virginie Viard and Karl Lagerfeld. Image: Chanel

    During her five years as creative director, Viard received equal amounts of criticism and praise for her works with Chanel. However, in 2023, Chanel’s sales skyrocketed, with revenue hitting almost $20 billion during Viard’s watch. She collaborated with various celebrities, such as Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, Timothée Chalamet, Jennie from Blackpink, Riley Keough, and more. In contrast to Lagerfeld’s extravagant personality for Chanel, Viard brought in a more toned-down identity. She made efforts to give the brand a youth-oriented persona with bow ties, shorts, and 80s-inspired silhouettes.

    Chanel expressed their gratitude for Viard by saying, “We would like to thank Virginie Viard for her remarkable contribution to Chanel’s fashion, creativity, and vitality.” After joining the fashion house in 1987, Viard, 62, has worked with Chanel and alongside Karl Lagerfeld for 30 years.

    Virginie Viard. Image: Supplied

    Viard’s departure comes as a shock, following the news of Valentino’s former creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli's, being replaced by Alessandro Michele in March. This has raised rumours that Piccioli may be in the running to take charge of Chanel in the future.

    Chanel’s runway show featuring their Autumn/Winter 2024 collection is set to be showcased on June 25th at the Opéra Garnier in Paris and will continue as planned.

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