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The most desirable position in fashion. Who will replace Virginie Viard at Chanel?

Virginie Viard at the Chanel fall-winter 2020-2021 show. (Paris, March 3, 2020)
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBOLT / AFP

From John Galliano to Phoebe Philo, speculation abounds over the name of Chanel’s future artistic director.

It’s the fashion of the day, or maybe the year. After a career spanning more than thirty years, Virginie Viard is stepping down as Chanel’s artistic director. This Thursday, June 6, Karl Lagerfeld’s stylist and former right-hand man is leaving one of fashion’s most coveted positions vacant after five years of good and loyal service at the helm of collections. “A new creative organization for the house will be announced in time. The summer 2024 haute couture collection will be presented as scheduled on June 25 at the Opéra Garnier,” the two C labels said in a press release. Inevitably, rumors and fantasy revolve around one question at a time: who will replace him? Which designer will be able to reinvent the collections of one of the world’s most famous fashion houses? Who will have strong enough shoulders to embody a house that has announced a turnover of 20 billion in 2023? Die in the press and social media.

Three big favorites

Usually, when news like this comes out, eyes turn to the artistic directors who have left their positions in recent months for another house. We’re thinking here of designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, who left Valentino on March 3. With a 25-year career inside the Italian house and his couture style, many already see him as a potential successor, as indicated by comments on a post from the @stylenotcom Instagram page.

At the moment, his name stands out less than that of another equally famous stylist, Hedi Slimane. The artistic director of the house of Celine, known for his rock style and his remarkable performances at the houses of Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, is one of the favorites. Especially after rumors of Celine’s house creator possibly leaving following Celine’s investigation. Fashion business published in April 2024. However, it is hard to imagine that Hedi Slimane runs a house with exclusively women’s collections. Unless Chanel decides to enter men’s fashion.

Hedi Slimane at the end of the men’s spring-summer 2023 show (Paris, June 26, 2022).
JULIAN DE ROSA / AFP

Another figure fueling speculation. John Galliano. If rumors are to be believed, the current artistic director of Maison Margiela, who caused a sensation with his spectacular haute couture show in Paris last January, is on the list of possible successors. Since the beginning of the year, the British designer has gained a lot of popularity, going so far as to dress many celebrities during the recent Met Gala, notably Zendaya and Kim Kardashian. If the names of Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford also sound, then the name of Jeremy Scott is equally interesting. After a ten-year career at the head of Moschino’s collections, the American designer with a pop and eccentric style left his position in March 2023. If since then he was absent from the catwalks, we remember that Karl Lagerfeld saw in him the only one. trusted person to take over the artistic direction of Chanel.

Where are the women?

On the women’s side, the list is thinner, but no less interesting. Sarah Burton’s name appears on X (formerly Twitter). The English designer behind Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, who stepped down from Alexander McQueen’s artistic direction in September 2023, has been absent from the fashion scene ever since. “Looks like women are getting a bigger foothold in fashion now,” said one user in an Instagram post from @stylenotcom. Sarah will do an incredible job at Chanel.” Or Phoebe Philo. She, who made her grand comeback on October 30, is on the minds of many fashion lovers. His name is often whispered, as was already the case with Burberry in 2017.

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Source: Le Figaro

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