By Pema Bakshi

Breaking: Virginie Viard Steps Down From Chanel

Following 30 years at the house, five as its artistic director, the designer will bid adieu to Chanel.
Virginie Viard leaving chanel
PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 08: Fashion designer Virginie Viard walks the runway during the Chanel Womenswear Fall/Winter 2022-2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 08, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Virginie Viard is parting ways with Chanel after thirty years with the house—five of those spent as its artistic director following the passing of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019.

While no official reason was provided for her departure, the French fashion house acknowledged her contributions to a rich chapter in its legacy.

“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 thirty years within the house,” read a statement shared with Vogue Business. “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.”

Virginie Viard leaving chanel
PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 05: Virginie Viard walks the runway during the Chanel Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 05, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images)

Viard started at Chanel in 1987. Having become Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman, she followed the designer to Chloé before they both returned to Chanel, where they would both remain for decades. In 2018, Lagerfeld, then artistic director, even shared his closing runway bow with Viard.

When he passed away the next year, Viard was quickly announced as his successor.

Virginie Viard leaving chanel
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard walk the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 on October 2, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The news comes after Chanel reported record revenue in 2023. In May, it was reported that sales totalled $19.7 billion last year, up 16%, with double-digit growth across all categories.

“It’s a testament to the desirability of Chanel’s creations and the sustained investment we’ve made in our brand in creating the ultimate luxury experience for our clients and in supporting our people to grow and develop,” said global chief executive officer Leena Nair Nair in an interview with WWD.

Viard’s last collection was Cruise 2024/2025, which debuted during a show in Marseille earlier this year. Little has been confirmed about her final collection, but Chanel’s Haute Couture show is scheduled to show during Paris Haute Couture Week as usual.

Virginie Viard leaving chanel
Chanel Cruise 2024/2025, courtesy of Chanel

In what has been dubbed fashion’s ‘musical chairs’ era, where countless major houses are undergoing rapid leadership changes, it stands to be seen who will be next to step up to the tweed throne.

Some contenders that have already been pitched by the public? Pierpaolo Piccioli, former creative director of Valentino, Gabriella Hearst, who recently departed from Chloé, and Phoebe Philo are names floating around, but all will be revealed.

This story first appeared on GRAZIA International.