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Five things to expect from Virginie Viard

By Kristopher Fraser

Feb 21, 2019

Following the unfortunate death of the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel's artistic director since 1983, Virginie Viard, Chanel's studio director since 1997, was immediately announced as his successor. Relatively little was known about the woman who played the right hand to Karl Lagerfeld for the majority of his career at Chanel, but she was instrumental in turning what was seen as a sleepy label since Coco Chanel's death into a multi-billion dollar fashion empire. To put it quite simply, Lagerfeld couldn't have done it without her.

In the last year, Viard began moving more into the public eye after her name began being published more often in fashion publications and she took the bow at the recent Chanel couture show in Paris as Lagerfeld was reportedly feeling very tired. As the spotlight at Chanel is now being placed on the woman tasked with filling the shoes of a legend, what can we expect from the brand's newly crowned queen of the House of Chanel.

1. The Continuation of Signature Tweed

Tweed is one of the things Chanel is famous for, and alongside Lagerfeld, Viard helped reinterpret the Chanel tweed suit and jacket in many way season after season for decades. Viard is sure to continue the legacy of Chanel's famous tweed suit, so not to worry tweed lovers, your future jackets are in the right hands.

2. Trend Free Collections

Viard is one of those designers who thinks trend is a very dirty word. Rightfully so, as she helped Lagerfeld build Chanel into what it is by staying true to the DNA of the house that Madame Chanel put her sweat and blood into. Don't expect any athleisure here, because as Lagerfeld himself said, "Sweatpants are a sign of defeat."

3. Her Own Style Injected Into Collections

Viard obviously has a brilliant design eye, but she spent years with Lagerfeld getting final say on everything. Now at the helm of the label, she is sure to inject some of her own design tastes into future collections. As she's spent almost the entirety of her career at Chanel under Lagerfeld, it's unknown just how much her aesthetic will differ, but she's sure to pleasantly surprise us.

4. A Return to Coco Chanel's Vision for the Brand

Coco Chanel wanted a brand for women by women, and Viard is the woman for the job. This will mark the first time a woman has held the creative director post at the brand since Madame Chanel herself. While we don't yet know what her designs will look, we can expect a stronger infusion of femininity and the vision of a modern woman by a modern woman.

5. Silk Fabrications

While we don't know what Viard has in store for the brand just yet, she does come from a family of silk manufacturers, and Chanel has been known to incorporate silk into their collections often. Don't be surprised when we see silk gowns at the Chanel runway show come this fall, or maybe even sooner. It's possible that along with tweed this could be Chanel's new silk fabrication.

Picture: Bertrand Guay / AFP