A week after Karl Lagerfeld’s passing in Paris, Chanel has appointed the late creative’s successors. While his right-hand woman and studio chief, Virginie Viard, was already said to take over the creative helm at Chanel last week, the French luxury house has now announced she won’t be writing the next chapter of the house alone.
Image director Eric Pfrunder will join Viard as co-artistic director, with Viard officially taking on the role as artistic director of fashion, while Pfrunder is named the artistic director of fashion image, which sees him oversee all aspects of advertising, marketing, fashion film, events and digital activations. Both have worked alongside Lagerfeld for over 30 years.
In the 2018 Netflix documentary 7 Days Out, Lagerfeld said of Viard: “Virginie is the most important person, not only for me but also for the atelier. For everything. She’s my right arm, and even if I don’t see her, we are on the phone all the time.” At his last Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear collection for the house, the designer took a bow alongside Viard for the first time.
The succession plan marks Chanel’s belief in an evolution over revolution approach, showing that it’s future success — in 2018, Chanel reached over $10 billion in sales — is safest in the hands of those who will continue Lagerfeld’s vision, over radical reinvention of the brand.