Alessandro Michele is officially leaving Gucci

Alessandro Michele is officially leaving Gucci

Alessandro Michele’s time at Gucci is officially over, Kering announced Wednesday. The Roman visionary achieved massive success during his nearly eight-year run at the helm of the famed Italian brand, injecting new life into the heritage house – and fashion at large.

The designer took to Instagram to say goodbye, writing: “There are times when paths diverge due to the different perspectives each of us may have. Today marks the end of an extraordinary journey for me, lasting more than twenty years, in a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion.”

Hired by Tom Ford, Michele first joined the Gucci team in the early aughts, working under Frida Giannini in the accessories studio. In 2015, Gucci boss Marco Bizzarri saw the designer’s highly original vision and invited Michele to become Gucci’s creative director, following Giannini’s resignation. At the time, he was largely unknown to the company, but he quickly gained control of the brand’s collections, showcases, campaigns and communications. The then fresh face came out for its first bow with a men’s collection in August of the following year.

In a statement, Bizzari said: “I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet Alessandro at the end of 2014, since then we have had the pleasure of working closely together as Gucci has charted its successful path over the last eight years. I would like to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and for his vision, devotion and unconditional love for this unique house during his tenure as Creative Director.”

From the beginning, Michele left nothing unsaid – and his first collection, Fall 2015, let showgoers know that he was leading the house towards the eclectic. Throughout his tenure, he proved just that, welcoming a uniform free of gender archetypes and expanding fashion’s scope with an almost anything-goes aesthetic.

For Spring 2018, the designer debuted the “Utopian Fantasy” campaign, which presented the label’s designs in magical reinterpretations of famous paintings; and in fall 2018 he sent severed heads, which took six months to make and were identical to their models, down the runway. Fall 2020 welcomed Michele’s 360-degree theater, where audiences got intimate behind-the-scenes looks at hair and makeup artists preparing fully clothed models for the show.

Across seasons, Michele 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, just hit shelves.

Speaking of collaborations, Michele was a master broker of hugely publicized partnerships. Think back to the Fall 2021 Hacker Project, where the designer teamed up with Demna’s Balenciaga, or more recently Gucci’s Fall 2022 crossover with adidas. He revived Dapper Dan’s Harlem-based couturiers, and he established the Gucci Vault, which allowed the designer to sell updated gems from the brand’s archives and spotlight the works of new visionaries. But his most moving teammate was (and still is) his longtime partner Giovanni Attili, who played a central role in writing the house’s impressive show notes.

But nothing lasts forever in fashion. Despite the awe factor of Michele’s forward-thinking designs, Gucci’s sales slowly began to slip, and by extension, Kering’s stock fell. According to “well-placed sources” at WWD, Michele was “asked to initiate a strong design shift” to transform and revitalize 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 house’s foremost visionary, with 68 sets of twins gracing the runway in an impactful presentation worth taking twice.

Reflecting on his time at Gucci, Michele concluded: “During this long period, Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the individuals who have cared for and supported it, I send my sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt hug. With them I have wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them, none of what I have built would have been possible. To them goes my most sincere wish: May you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life worth living. May you continue to feed on poetic and inclusive imagery, remain true to your values. May you always live according to your passions, driven by the winds of freedom.”

In several fashion news, Raf Simons has closed the name brand after 27 years.

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