Virginie Viard Steps Down from Chanel

The End of an Era

Virginie Viard Steps Down from Chanel
Mariana Baião Santos

The fashion world is abuzz after the announcement that Virginie Viard (Instagram), the visionary artistic director who steered Chanel (Instagram) through uncharted waters following Karl Lagerfeld’s passing, will be stepping down. After five years at the helm, Viard’s legacy will undoubtedly be debated for years to come.

Viard’s tenure was marked by a subtle shift in the Chanel aesthetic. While retaining the essence of the brand’s DNA – the structured jackets, the little black dresses, the strings of pearls – Viard imbued the collections with a softer, more relaxed air. Virginie Viard’s Chanel woman, while still powerful, was one who could navigate the world with a touch more ease.

Virginie Viard
Paris, France –  Chanel Womenswear Fall/Winter 2022-2023

Critics have pointed to Viard’s focus on knitwear and fluid silhouettes as a signature of her time at Chanel. This, they argue, reflected a keen understanding of the modern woman’s lifestyle – one that craved comfort and adaptability alongside timeless elegance.

Beyond the clothes, Virginie Viard and her artistry shone through in her captivating runway shows. From the feminist bookstore recreated for Spring/Summer 2020 to the tweed-clad artisans’ workshop of Fall/Winter 2023, Viard’s sets transported viewers to fully realized worlds, each imbued with the essence of Chanel.

Virginie Viard

The fashion community erupted in a chorus of appreciation for Viard’s leadership. Fellow designers, editors, and celebrities alike have expressed immense respect and gratitude for her contributions to the house.

The future of Chanel, and indeed Viard’s next chapter, remains unwritten. But one thing is certain: her tenure as artistic director will forever be etched in fashion history. As Chanel enters a new era, the woman who so expertly navigated a time of immense change will undoubtedly be remembered as a force to be reckoned with, one who left an indelible mark on the brand.

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