The late fashion designer has kept Viard at his side for decades. Now, it appears she has been tasked with keeping his legacy going
Back in October, at the close of his Chanel spring/summer 2019 show, Karl Lagerfeld appeared for his traditional post-show bow, hand-in-hand with a tall brunette. Nowhere near as recognisable as the world-famous man standing beside her, nor even a frequently used name in fashion circles, the woman – dressed in an outfit of understated jeans and a denim jacket, with a Brigitte Bardot fringe – applauded adoringly as Lagerfeld took what would be his final applause from a rapturous audience.
To those in the know, Lagerfeld’s companion was the seldom seen Virginie Viard, his most trusted aide and protege – or, as Chanel put it, “his closest collaborator”. While her name may not ring the same bells as Lagerfeld or the house’s founder, Coco Chanel, those on the inside will attest that she has been integral to the house’s continued success. Lagerfeld once described their relationship as “essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection” and said it was he, Viard and two others who ran the fashion chain.