If you’ve checked social media in the last twenty-four hours, you probably know already. But we must echo the most recent news in the fashion industry, of course. Just announced, Virginie Viard is leaving Chanel, where she has been working for almost thirty years. First as part of the design team and, since 2019, after the sad passing of the Kaiser, Karl Lagerfeld, as the French Maison’s Artistic Director. Over five years, she has presented several collections including Haute Couture and the most recent one, the Cruise 2025 in Marseille.
In a statement, the French luxury house said: “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 30 years within the house. 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.”
But who’s to assume the incredibly difficult task to substitute her? After three decades working for the Maison, very few people have such an insightful, profound knowledge of Chanel’s codes, teams, ateliers, and general savoir-faire. Also, she contributed economically by boosting its sales. Chanel being one of the very few independent luxury brands left, and still one of the hottest and most desirable, it needs someone at the head who can take the pressure, the criticism, all the while performing at the highest standard.
For months, Hedi Slimane’s name has been resonating among the fashion crowd, with many speculating that he was set to take over Chanel in no time. With Virginie’s departure, these rumours are growing even stronger. But taking a look at the comments flooding Instagram, Pier Paolo Piccioli seems like everyone’s favourite, especially after parting ways with Valentino recently. And many also have Sarah Burton in mind, hoping that it’s another woman who takes the role. Because, let’s remember, with her departure from Alexander McQueen, and now Virginie’s from Chanel, female creative directors are almost ‘going extinct’ in the top luxury houses, which is a shame.
Virginie Viard’s latest work for Chanel will be the Fall/Winter 2024 Haute Couture collection, which is set to be presented on June 25 at the Opéra Garnier in Paris.