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Who is Virginie Viard, the woman replacing Karl Lagerfeld as head of Chanel?

The "closest collaborator" of the late Lagerfeld started at Chanel as an intern for haute couture embroidery in 1987, marking the beginning of a 32-year-long relationship.

Who is Virginie Viard, the woman replacing Karl Lagerfeld as head of Chanel?

The late German fashion designer of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld with French fashion studio director of Chanel Virginie Viard at the end of the Chanel Spring-Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris. (Photo: AFP/Bertrand Guay)

Following the passing of Karl Lagerfeld yesterday evening (Feb 19), Chanel has appointed his longtime collaborator Virginie Viard as creative director of the brand.

In a statement, the House Of Chanel named Viard “Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years” and entrusted her with “the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on”.

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Lagerfeld had said of Viard in the Netflix documentary series 7 Days Out: "Virginie is the most important person, not only for me but also for the atelier, for everything. She is my right arm and even if I don't see her, we are on the phone all the time". 

Virginie Viard (left) with Italian model Vittoria Ceretti at the end of the Chanel Spring-Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection fashion show at the Grand Palais in Paris. (Photo: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Viard started at Chanel as an intern for haute couture embroidery in 1987, just four years after Lagerfeld became creative director of the iconic French brand. She was introduced to Lagerfeld by Prince Rainier of Monaco’s chamberlain, marking the beginning of a 32-year-long relationship.

The granddaughter of silk manufacturers, a young Viard started her career in costume design for films and plays. She designed the costumes for the 1993 French drama Three Colors: Blue, which starred Juliette Binoche, and the 1994 French-Polish comedy-drama Three Colors: White, both directed by Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Lagerfeld kept Viard at his side during his creative director stint at the French fashion house Chloe between 1992 and 1997. He then brought her back to Chanel, where she became the coordinator of haute couture, and in 2000, the ready-to-wear collections.

Last month, Viard took Lagerfeld’s place for the customary bow at the end of the Chanel couture show when Lagerfeld was too tired to appear, a first in his three-decade career.

Viard has previously said that she hates the spotlight. Instead, she has described herself as “fairly curious” and someone who likes to “keep an eye on fashion, but it’s not what inspires me”.

Source: CNA/bk

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