Italian house Gucci has confirmed Alessandro Michele will leave after a seven-year tenure in which his eclectic aesthetic has proved a critical and commercial success
Alessandro Michele is set to leave Gucci, the Italian house confirmed yesterday evening (23 November 2022). The Rome-born designer, who took over from forebear Frida Giannini in 2015 (and among Wallpaper’s as a ‘Game Changer’, has transformed Gucci in his seven-year tenure with eclectic, transporting collections that cross eras, continents and cultural touchpoints in their inspirations. Outside of clothing, his imaginative approach has influenced all areas of the house, from the introduction of Gucci beauty to homeware and high jewellery. François-Henri Pinault, chair and chief executive of Kering – the luxury goods conglomerate that owns Gucci – thanked Michele in a statement. ‘His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci centre stage, where its place is.’
‘Today an extraordinary journey ends for me, lasting more than 20 years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion,’ said Michele in his own statement on Instagram. ‘During this long period Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the individuals, who have looked after and supported it, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt embrace.
‘Together 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 nourish yourselves with poetic and inclusive imagery, remaining faithful to your values. May you always live by your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom.’
Michele was originally hired by Tom Ford two decades ago to focus on accessories; a longtime member of the Gucci team, his appointment in 2015 came as a surprise to the industry. But a languid, romantic first collection – an A/W 2015 menswear collection created in just five days – set the blueprint for his approach, blurring lines of gender with 1970s-inspired silhouettes (a silk pussy-bow blouse, fur-lined open-back loafers, and use of lace would all become signatures). Just a year later, in its October 2016 issue, Wallpaper* highlighted Michele as a ‘Game-Changer’.
The collections that followed drew from increasingly expansive inspiration points – from neoclassical Rome to the Golden Age of Hollywood – in dramatic runway presentations that have taken place in cities around the world, including Milan, Paris, Los Angeles and the designer’s native Rome. A raft of celebrities and cultural figures have adopted the brand under his tenure, perhaps most notably the musician Harry Styles, who recently collaborated with Michele on Ha Ha Ha, a capsule collection of clothing. Michele’s last runway show, during Milan Fashion Week S/S 2023, featured 68 pairs of twins in identical looks – a gesture he dedicated to his mother, who was a twin herself.
‘I am a son of two mothers: mum Eralda and mum Giuliana. They were magically mirrored. One multiplied the other. That was my world, perfectly double and doubled,’ he said.
Michele has enjoyed a rare combination of critical and commercial success, with the revenue of the house reportedly tripling during his tenure, according to Business of Fashion. As of yet, there is no word as to who will replace Michele at Gucci. The house is scheduled to show a collection in January 2023.
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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