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Virginie Viard is set to exit Chanel. In a shock announcement Thursday morning, Chanel wrote in a statement: “Chanel confirms the departure of Virginie Viard after a rich collaboration of five years as Artistic Director of Fashion collections, during which she was able to renew the codes of the House while respecting the creative heritage of Chanel, and almost thirty years within the House.”

Viard, 62, joined Chanel in 1987, working closely alongside Karl Lagerfeld until the designer’s passing in 2019. Following Lagerfeld’s death, she would take the helm of artistic director that same year, and in the last five years Chanel’s sales have soared. For 2023/2024, Chanel reported record results of a 14.6% increase in sales and a net profit of over £3.6 billion.

During her tenure as artistic director, Viard has been praised for bringing a relatable sense of practicality and ease to the celebrated Chanel look.

Viard’s successor is yet to be announced.

Photography by Karl Lagerfeld.