Dubbed Lagerfeld’s “right hand woman”, Viard previously held the role of fashion creation studio director at the French fashion house.
Viard has been by Lagerfeld’s side at Chanel for more than three decades, ensuring that the label runs smoothly.
She first joined the luxury label in 1987 as an intern, four years after Lagerfeld.
Chanel confirmed that Viard had been named Lagerfeld’s successor in a statement released following the 85-year-old fashion icon’s death.
“Virginie Viard, Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on,” the statement read.
Soon after joining Chanel, Viard was put in charge of embroidery at the brand.
She’s been working at the brand ever since, with the exception of a five-year gap in the 1990s when she moved to Chloé with Lagerfeld.
As part of her role as director of Studio Chanel, Viard would oversee eight Chanel collections a year.
“I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d’Art houses, based on Karl’s sketches,” Viard said in 2017.
“I coordinate 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.”
Lagerfeld once described their working relationship as “essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection”.
Following the news of Viard’s appointment as the new creative director of Chanel, several people have been sharing messages of support for her as she takes on the new role.
“If anyone knows Chanel, it’s Virginie Viard,” one person tweeted.