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Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard to leave brand


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Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard to leave brand

FILE PHOTO: Chanel bags and creations are displayed on mannequins in a window of a fashion house Chanel store in Paris, France, June 18, 2020.

REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Viard, 62, worked at Chanel for nearly thirty years, alongside Karl Lagerfeld, whose role she took over in 2019 following his death

Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard is leaving the label, the luxury brand said on Thursday, June 6, kicking off speculation over who will replace her in one of the fashion industry’s most coveted positions.

“A new chapter is opening for Chanel Mode,” Chanel said in a statement, confirming the change, which was first reported on fashion news website Business of Fashion.

The privately-owned label, known for tweed jackets, quilted handbags with double-C logos and the No. 5 perfume, did not name a successor as it thanked Viard for her “rich collaboration of five years”.

Viard, 62, worked at Chanel for nearly thirty years, alongside Karl Lagerfeld, whose role she took over in 2019 following his death.

She favored relaxed silhouettes with an Eighties flare and took a low-key approach compared to her predecessor, sending models along the Seine River and down a street in Manchester for recent fashion shows, for example – marking a contrast with the showmanship of Lagerfeld, who built towering sets including a rocketship and indoor waterfall for his catwalk presentations.

Her departure comes as the industry adjusts to slower growth and several other labels, including Kering-owned Gucci, Valentino, and Burberry seek new creative direction to reignite sales.

The post-COVID pandemic boom, fueled by pent-up demand for fashion, has tapered off as shoppers spend less due to the rising cost of living.

Chanel teams will ensure the “continuity” of collections in the interim period, and the brand will host its fall-winter haute couture show 2024/2025 on June 25 in Paris, it said.

Rumors of a new designer at Chanel have swirled for years, most recently including talk of industry heavyweights like former Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, who has since been recruited to Valentino.

Chanel Chief Executive Leena Nair last month brushed off talk of a designer change, noting that Viard had overseen strong growth in ready-to-wear fashion sales, which have surged two-and-a-half-times since 2018.

Sales at Chanel were up 16% last year to nearly $20 billion, a slower rate than smaller rival Hermes, which grew sales 21% to 13.4 billion euros, but faster than LVMH’s fashion and leather goods division, which was up 14% to 42 billion euros.

The world’s second-largest label after LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, Chanel is owned by French billionaire brothers Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer. –

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