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Chanel to Lean on Brand Veterans Following Lagerfeld’s Death

Chanel confirmed that two longtime associates of Karl Lagerfeld—studio chief Virginie Viard and image director Eric Pfrunder—would remain at the helm of the luxury label following the iconic designer’s death.

Viard has been named artistic director for fashion collections, the closely held fashion house said in a statement Wednesday, while Pfrunder was appointed artistic director for fashion image. Chanel had said Viard would continue to manage the brand’s collections when Lagerfeld died last week at the age of 85, without clarifying her title or the breadth of her role.

The move to name co-artistic directors from within the company implies that no one is being given the extensive authority Lagerfeld had enjoyed as its only creative chief since founder Coco Chanel. Speculation that the fashion house would turn to a star creative director from outside the company has persisted even as Viard’s profile became increasingly public. Lagerfeld’s principal deputy since more than 30 years, she has taken her bows alongside the designer at recent shows.

Alain Wertheimer, co-owner of Chanel, “confirms his confidence in the team that worked with Karl Lagerfeld for over 30 years,” the statement said.