Karl Lagerfeld's second-in-command at Chanel, Virginie Viard, will succeed the house's artistic director, who died on February 19. The brand said on its Instagram page: "Virginie Viard, director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld's closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on."
Viard began working at Chanel as an intern in 1987, just four years after Lagerfeld himself joined the French maison. In the decades since, Lagerfeld came to describe Viard as "my right hand and my left hand". She even followed Lagerfeld to Chloe for five years in the 1990s, before returning to Chanel.
Viard, who has said in the past that she's not too fond of the spotlight, stepped in for her mentor and friend when he was unable to take a bow at the end of Chanel's latest haute couture show, held in Paris in January. Last October, she joined Lagerfeld for his bow after a show at the Grand Palais.
It remains to be seen if, as chief designer, Viard will be as prolific as Lagerfeld, who famously created ready-to-wear, cruise, pre-fall and two haute couture collections for Chanel every season, as well as multiple collections for Fendi and his own eponymous brand.