Designer Alessandro Michele steps down as artistic director of Gucci
Alessandro Michele is stepping down as creative director of Gucci after a long seven-year tenure that saw him revive the brand’s image and boost sales.
Michele is stepping down, the brand announced yesterday, after significantly redefining Gucci’s codes with romance and genre fluidity, while generating revenue for parent company Kering.
Daily reported Michele’s planned departure on Tuesday, citing sources that Michele had failed to respond to a request to “initiate a strong design change”, and that the chairman of Gucci’s parent company, Kering, François-Henri Pinault, was looking for a change of pace.
In the statement announcing Michele’s departure, Gucci credits him with playing “a fundamental role in making the brand what it is today through his groundbreaking creativity.”
The designer was named creative director in January 2015, just days after leading a creative team that put together a menswear show in just five days after his predecessor’s hasty departure.
Alessandro Michele is stepping down as creative director of Gucci, the fashion house announced yesterday, after heavily redefining Gucci’s codes with romance and genre fluidity, while generating revenue for Kering’s parent company (pictured in 2018)
The designer pictured at the 2019 Met Gala alongside pop singer Harry Styles, also wearing Gucci
Michele cited “different perspectives” as his reason for leaving, without giving further details.
“Today marks the end for me of an extraordinary journey of more than 20 years, within a company to which I have tirelessly devoted all my love and creative passion,” he said.
This collection heralded Gucci’s new direction, featuring men’s silk blouses with elaborate bows and ruffled collars as well as fur-trimmed capes, as Michele redefined masculine dress codes.
For most of his tenure, Gucci generated stellar revenues, accounting for most of Kerings’ profits. But he has come under intense scrutiny recently after underperforming his rivals.
Two models walking hand in hand during the Gucci Twinsburg show at Milan Fashion Week in September
Alessandro pictured with Elton John at the 2022 LACMA ART + FILM GALA presented by Gucci at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art earlier this month
Dakota Johnson poses with Michele and Jared Leto, left, at the 2022 Met Gala in New York in May
Michele’s partnerships with the Hollywood elite and VIPs were often rooted in friendships. Jared Leto was a frequent front row guest at Gucci shows during Michele’s tenure, for a time adopting the same long, straight hair and beard as the Gucci designer.
Michele has also famously dressed Billie Eilish, Florence Welch, and Italian rock band Maneskin on her current tour. And he recently unveiled a collection designed with Harry Styles.
For her latest runway collection, unveiled in September, Michele constructed a parallel universe of side-by-side runways separated by a wall that, when lifted, revealed identical-looking twins in a synchronic stride. The reveal of the 68 sets of identically dressed twins left normally jaded fashionistas confessing they were moved to tears.
Alessandro Borghi, left, wearing a pastel pink suit and Jared Leto, right, opting for a black and white check version by Gucci at the designer’s show in Milan
Michele joined Gucci in 2002, becoming a Creative Director Partner in May 2011. In 2014, he was appointed Creative Director of Gucci-owned porcelain brand Richard Ginori. He previously worked as a senior accessories designer at Fendi and studied at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome.
Gucci CEO and President Marco Bizzarri thanked Michele “for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci, and for his vision, dedication and unconditional love for this unique house”.
“The road that Gucci and Alessandro have traveled together over the past few years is unique and will go down as an exceptional moment in the house’s history,” Pinault said in a statement.
Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue, was among the first to pay tribute to Michele’s work for Gucci.
Gucci said the in-house design team will take care of the collections until a new creative director is appointed.
“To them goes my heartfelt wish: may you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life worth living,” Michele said in her farewell statement.
British Vogue editor Edward Enninful was among the first to pay tribute to Michele’s work for Gucci.
In a post shared on instagram this morning he wrote: “I will miss you. Looking forward to what you will do next.
He shared the same photo on his Instagram story, writing: “you made us dream”.