Alessandro Michele is stepping down as creative director of Gucci, the fashion house announced on Wednesday, ending an eight-year tenure that heavily redefined Gucci codes with romance and genre fluidity, while driving revenue for the house. Kering’s mother.
Womenswear Daily reported Michele’s planned departure on Tuesday, citing sources who said Alessandro Michele failed to respond to a request to “initiate a strong design change” and that the president of the parent company of Gucci, Kering, François-Henri Pinault, were looking for a change of pace.
No mention of such behind-the-scenes moves was made in the statement announcing Michele’s departure, in which Gucci credits him for playing “a fundamental role in making the brand what it is today. thanks to its revolutionary creativity”. (Also read | Haute couture brands from Gucci to LV are launching their own games. See why)
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.
Michele 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. 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.
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.
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-year 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.
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.
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