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Heaven and Chanel

Virginie Viard
I am told that it did bother Chanel executives that the critics—online and off—were increasingly souring on Viard’s work. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
June 6, 2024

Did High Fashion Twitter get Virginie Viard fired? The online peanut gallery, which had lambasted the designer’s fuddy-duddy collections throughout her five-year tenure at Chanel, but especially in recent months, was certainly satisfied by the news of her exit, which leaked shortly after internal teams were notified Wednesday afternoon. Just a few hours later, the company was forced to release a statement. 

As I mentioned just a few weeks ago, I never believed that Chanel’s positive financial performance in 2023—or even the fact that the company went out of its way to praise Viard’s collections—was any indication that she was going to stay. First of all, as a private concern, Chanel is not required to share financial information, and the company does not break down revenue by category, let alone by sub-category. Fashion and accessories may have performed well overall, but much of that was likely in shoes and handbags, which remain in-demand. The company said it experienced “exceptional growth across all categories,” including ready-to-wear, handbags, and shoes. But ready-to-wear comprises more than the clothes you see on the runways, and I am told that it did bother executives that the critics—online and off—were increasingly souring on Viard’s work.