Chanel’s Creative Director Virginie Viard Is Leaving After 5 Years on the Job

In yet another fashion industry shakeup, Virginie Viard is parting ways with Chanel.

The company announced on Wednesday that Viard, who’s spent the last five years in the artistic director role, will be stepping away from Chanel after nearly three decades. The 62-year-old designer assumed the position in 2019 following the death of her mentor Karl Lagerfeld.

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“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,” the French label said in a statement. “A new creative organization 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 got her start at Chanel as an intern in 1987 where she worked her way up the ranks to deputy director. By the time she was named successor, she was often referred to as Lagerfeld’s “right arm and left arm.” After his passing, Viard’s first solo collection debuted during the Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Her last collection for the brand will be Chanel’s runway show during Paris Haute Couture Week in June, CNN reported.

During her tenure, the brand has seen sales jump and its revenue increase. Recently, the global chief executive officer of Chanel, Leena Nair, shared with BoF that the label’s ready-to-wear business has been multiplied by 2.5 and grew by a whopping 23 percent last year. At the same time, sales rose 14.6 percent to just shy of $20 billion. Under Viard’s watch, the fashion label has also collaborated with several high-profile brand ambassadors including Kristen Stewart and Timothée Chalamet.

Viard’s departure comes less than three months after Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s creative director, announced he was exiting the Italian fashion house. The designer is being replaced by Alessandro Michele, who left his position as creative director of Gucci in 2022. In March, Dries Van Noten confirmed that he would also be leaving his eponymous label after nearly 40 years. However, a successor has yet to be named. Then, of course, designer and creative director Sarah Burton ended her longtime collaboration with British luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen in September 2023.

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