Following the death of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel has announced that Virginie Viard, the brand's current studio director, will succeed the legendary designer.
Lagerfeld's death was confirmed on Tuesday, February 19th. He was 85.
Viard has worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld since the beginning. Her tenure at Chanel started in 1987 when a family friend Prince Rainier’s chamberlain, recommended Viard to the designer for an internship. The two creatives have been inseparable ever since. She followed him to Chloé in 1992, and back to Chanel in 1997. At October’s show at the Grand Palais, she even joined him for his bow.
Lagerfeld previously described their partnership, telling ELLE US: “She is my right hand and my left hand. Our relationship is essential, doubled by very real friendship and affection."
Viard said of Lagerfeld, “I try to—to anticipate what he would like. I love to please him but also surprise him.” Over the years, she has gotten to know the private Lagerfeld. “He is very sensitive, like all creative people, but very faithful, generous—which might not be what people would guess.”
Speaking to The Telegraph in 2017, Viard described her working relationship with the Chanel designer. "I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d’Art houses, based on Karl’s sketches," she said. "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."
Viard added that she and Lagerfeld speak "all the time" and they see each other every day. Sometimes he would even send her sketches via phone. "The complicity is total," she once remarked.
Last month, Lagerfeld was absent from Chanel's couture shows in Paris because he "was feeling tired," according to a statement from the French brand at the time. Viard took the final bow in his place, accompanied by model Vittoria Ceretti, who donned the final look: an embellished bridal swimsuit.
She's also joined Lagerfeld for final bows at the Chanel Metiers D'Art 2018/2019 show in New York in December and the beach-themed Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris in October.
WATCH: Chanel's Metiers d'Art Show In NYC.