Chanel deputy director Virginie Viard to succeed Karl Lagerfeld, says source
Virginie Viard, deputy artistic director of Chanel, will become chief designer of the fashion house following the death of haute couture icon Karl Lagerfeld, a source at Chanel said on Tuesday. Lagerfeld, 85, died on Tuesday after a short illness and after more than 50 years at the pinnacle of Paris and the global fashion industry.
Instantly recognisable in his dark suits, pony-tailed white hair and sunglasses, Lagerfeld was best known for his association with Chanel but delivered collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his own eponymous label. Rumours of Lagerfeld’s ill-health had swirled after he failed to show up at Chanel’s January show in Paris for his customary bow.
Chanel chief executive Alain Wertheimer recalled how he had given carte blanche to Lagerfeld in the 1980s to reinvent the brand, from the Chanel jacket to its tweeds and two-tone shoes. “Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” Wertheimer said in a statement.
A craftsman who combined artistic instinct, business acumen and commensurate ego, Lagerfeld was known for his strikingly visual fashion show displays. LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault said the fashion world had lost a creative genius who helped make Paris the fashion capital of the world, and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses. “I will always remember his immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season, his inexhaustible energy, the virtuosity of his drawings, his carefully guarded independence, his encyclopaedic culture and his unique wit and eloquence,” Arnault said.