ELLE US Sets Sail With Joan, Natasha, Yasmin + Hannah In Chanel Resort 2019

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ELLE’s director of fashion features Veronique Hyland shares a November 2018 look at Chanel’s nautical-inspired 2019 Resort Collection featuring models Joan Smalls, Natasha Poly, Yasmin Wijnaldum and Hannah Ferguson.

Chanel fashion studio director  Virginie Viard

Chanel fashion studio director Virginie Viard

In advance of Chanel’s December 4 presentation of its Métiers d’art collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hyland also introduces us to Chanel fashion studio director Virginie Viard, who’s worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld since (nearly) the beginning. Viard’s tenure at Chanel began in 1987 when a family friend of Prince Rainier recommended Viard to the designer for an internship. The two creatives have been inseparable ever since, writes ELLE. She followed him to Chloé in 1992, and back to Chanel in 1997. At October’s show at the Grand Palais, she even joined him for his bow.

Viard explains that their design process begins when Lagerfeld completes one of his famous colored-pencil-and-pastel sketches, which he still does by hand. “I immediately dispatch each sketch to each première d’atelier, according to her skills and capabilities. I visualize the show, get things ready for him, decide on materials, coordinate the teams, and liaise with suppliers,” she says. “I like to think of myself as the one who helps his vision come alive.”

Lagerfeld is effusive in praising her: “She is my right rector Virginie Viard, hand and my left hand,” he says. “Our relationship is essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection.” Adds Viard, “I try to—to anticipate what he would like. I love to please him but also surprise him.” In one of her more interesting comments, Viard says she has gotten to know the private Lagerfeld. “He is very sensitive, like all creative people, but very faithful, generous—which might not be what people would guess.”

The violin player in the fashion spread is Charlie Siem, who has performed alongside Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and theWho. The two men bonded over a love of classical music and sharp dressing, after Siem appeared in Lagerfeld’s Little Black Jacket series.