Alessandro Michele’s time at Gucci is officially over, Kering announced on Wednesday. The Roman visionary has achieved enormous success during his nearly eight years at the helm of the celebrated Italian label, breathing new life into the house’s heritage – and into fashion in general.
The designer took to Instagram to bid farewell, writing, “There are times when paths diverge due to the different perspectives each of us may have. Today marks the end for me of an extraordinary career spanning more than twenty years within a company to which I have tirelessly devoted all my love and my creative passion.
Hired by Tom Ford, Michele first entered the Gucci team early on, working under Frida Giannini in the accessories studio. In 2015, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri observed the designer’s highly original vision and invited Michele to become Gucci’s creative director, after Giannini was fired. At the time, he was mostly unknown to the company, but he was soon given control of collections, window displays, campaigns and brand communications. The then-freshface stepped out for its first bow with a menswear collection in August of the following year.
In a statement, Bizzari said: “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Alessandro at the end of 2014, since then we have had the pleasure of working closely together as Gucci has forged its successful path. over the past eight years. I would like to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and for his vision, dedication and unconditional love for this unique House during his tenure as Creative Director.
From the start, Michele left nothing out – and his debut collection, Fall 2015, let onlookers know he was leaning the Maison towards the eclectic. Throughout his tenure, he’s proven that, embracing a uniform stripped of gender archetypes and expanding fashion’s reach with an almost go-anywhere aesthetic.
For spring 2018, the designer launched the “Utopian Fantasy” campaign, which featured the brand’s creations in magical reinterpretations of famous paintings; and for fall 2018, he sent severed heads, which took six months to make and were identical to their models, to the runway. Fall 2020 hosted Michele’s 360 Degree Theater, in which viewers received intimate behind-the-scenes looks from hairstylists and makeup artists preparing fully-dressed models for the show.
Over the seasons, Michele has cultivated the Gucci family, attracting influential figures as fans and then friends, including Jared Leto, Billie Eilish and Harry Styles, whose collaborative collection with the designer, titled HA HA HA, has just been released.
Speaking of collaborations, Michele was a highly talked about master partnership broker. Think back to the Fall 2021 Hacker project, which saw the designer team up with Demna’s Balenciaga, or more recently, Gucci’s Fall 2022 crossover with adidas. He also revived Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan, and he created the Gucci Vault, which allowed the designer to resell updated gems from the brand’s archives and spotlight the works of emerging visionaries. . But his most emotional teammate was (and still is) his longtime partner Giovanni Attili, who played a pivotal role in penning House’s impressive show notes.
However, nothing lasts forever in fashion. Despite the fear factor of Michele’s avant-garde designs, Gucci’s sales slowly began to decline and, by extension, Kering’s shares fell. According to “well-placed sources” at WWD, Michele was “asked to initiate a strong design change” to transform and reinvigorate the brand, although it appears he was unable to meet the standards of their request. Instead, Michele’s latest Gucci collection, Spring 2023, manifested the whole new dimension he had created as the Maison’s leading visionary, with 68 sets of twins gracing the catwalk in an impactful and eye-catching presentation. a double take.
Reflecting on her time at Gucci, Michele concluded, “During this long time, Gucci has been my home, my adoptive family. To this extended family, to all the people who cared for and supported her, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most sincere hug. With them, I wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them, nothing I have built would have been possible. To them goes my dearest wish: may you continue to cultivate your dreams, this subtle and immaterial matter which makes life worth living. May you continue to nourish yourself with poetic and inclusive images, remaining true to your values. May you always live from your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom.
In more fashion news, Raf Simons has closed his eponymous brand after 27 years.