Virginie Viard will replace Karl Lagerfeld as the new Creative Director Of Chanel. But what will change? Will there be a new pricing strategy for the handbags? Are the future designs going to different? How is Chanel going to change?
More than often, when a new Creative Director takes over a fashion brand, it wants to instill its own strategy and vision. There are multiple examples from top brands.
Nicolas Ghesquière replaced Marc Jacobs as the new captain of Louis Vuitton. He focused more on designing fashion based on the history of the brand and gets a lot of inspiration from the house’s archives. When Alexander Wang took over Balenciaga temporary, he introduced a new series of soft and ladylike handbags like the Le Dix Bag.
Who Is Virginia Viard?
Changes do happened a lot, especially when the new Creative Director is hired from the outside of the company. However, Virginie Viard is different not only because she is promoted from the inside, but also because she is the right-hand-woman of Karl Largerfeld
Virginie started as an intern in haute-couture embroidery in 1987 while Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1983. Virginie followed where Karl Lagerfeld went, for example, Lagerfeld was appointed as Chloe’s new creative director in 1990’s and Virginie went to join him as well. They had built a close relationship.
Virginie was described as Lagerfeld’s right-hand-woman, protégé, and dear friend. She stood at his side at the closing of the Spring Summer 2019 show and appeared when Lagerfeld was too tired.
The future of Chanel
For more than 30 years, Virginie worked closely with Karl. During the Netflix’s 7 Days Out documentary series, Karl explained how important Virginie is for him: ‘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 also plays a major role in the process of designing to manufacturing of the fashion goods. In 2017, Telegraph wrote a story about key women at Chanel and Virginie explained: ‘I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d’Art houses, based on Karl’s sketches. 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.’
And just like how Karl understood the founder Coco Chanel very well, Virginie will also understand the vision and ideas of Karl. For many years, Karl never really imposed his personality to the brand, but instead it focuses on the ideas of the founder. For example; the Boy Bag as well as the Gabriele Bag were inspired by Coco’s boyish attitude.
Virginie will think the same way. She will not be asking herself what Karl will do, but instead she will ask what Coco will do.
With Virginie in charge, Chanel will remain unchanged in the future. The new collections will still be released, people will still be obsessed with the brand and most importantly, the prices will keep increasing.