Alessandro Michele Exits Gucci: What Happens Now?
By Melania Morelli
Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s Creative Director, leaves the Italian luxury brand after seven years at its helm.
Why is Alessandro Michele leaving Gucci?
Gucci and Alessandro Michele released a joint statement, with Michele also posting a moving caption on his Instagram account saying: “There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have.”
Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, said: “I was fortunate to…meet Alessandro at the end of 2014. Since then we have had the pleasure to work closely together as Gucci has charted its successful path over these last eight years. I would like to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and his vision, devotion, and unconditional love for this unique House during his tenure as Creative Director.”
Alessandro Michele joined Gucci as Creative Director in late January 2015, replacing Frida Giannini. In just a few days he created the Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection. On that occasion, we witnessed the direction Michele wanted to drive Gucci—a more androgynous, genderfluid, and extravagant concept of fashion.
Alessandro Michele’s History with Gucci
Throughout his almost eight years as the creative helm of the Italian luxury House, Michele developed and deepened the vision he had shown in his first collection. He also explored the art and history world – Alessandro being passionate about Italian art and antiquities.
Gucci’s shows under Michele were inspired by the Renaissance, 80s Italian and French couture, mythology, classic art, and nature. The latest referral was turned into beautiful prints and designs of ants, bees, tigers, snakes, tropical foliage, birds, and butterflies. Michele started a new era for Gucci, completely reinventing the brand, and giving it a new life. The Rome-born designer experimented quite a lot in all his years at Gucci as he admitted he was given the freedom to create.
Before becoming the Creative Director, Michele had been working for Gucci since 2002. At that time, Tom Ford was the creative head of the Florentine Maison. Then, he worked as Frida Giannini’s assistant designer. Previouslybeforeto joining Gucci, he had worked at Fendi under Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi.
Michele and Gucci have developed and carved great collaborations throughout the years. The Hacker Project was a collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Florentine brand. Gucci also joined forces with Adidas, with yet another successful collaboration.
Styles is among the many celebrities who have had an ongoing partnership with Gucci and Alessandro Michele. Others include Jared Leto, Lana Del Rey, Dakota Johnson, and, lately, the Italian rock band Måneskin.
Michele’s talent lies undoubtedly in being able to create a new vision and path for the entire world of fashion, making it more genderfluid and libertine. An idea that brought, then, all designers to follow suit.
Gucci’s Revenue Under Alessandro Michele
Michele was successful in connecting to the younger generations of Gucci aficionados.
In 2018 alone, 62% of Gucci’s $8 billion sales came from shoppers under 35 years old. That same year, overall sales saw a 35% increase for the following five quarters.
However, rumor has it there was trouble in paradise between Michele and Kering (the group that owns Gucci). Gucci’s latest revenue results were good but below Kering’s expectations. Michele was allegedly told to change the direction of his upcoming collections—a proposal that the designer did not appreciate and brought the parties to part ways.
What’s next for Alessandro Michele and Gucci?
The future for both Alessandro Michele and Gucci remains uncertain. Will Michele launch his brand or become the Creative Director of another luxury House?
On the other hand, who will be Gucci’s next Creative helm?
Lately, there’s been turmoil in the fashion world. Riccardo Tisci recently left Burberry and he is on the top list to be Gucci’s next big name.
At the same time, Phoebe Philo, Céline’s former Creative Director, would be a huge step away from Alessandro Michele’s style and concept as she has a more minimalistic approach.
Let’s not forget Tom Ford, who recently sold his company to Estée Lauder Companies, and could possibly return to his Gucci roots.
Another idea, following its previous footsteps, would be for Gucci to choose an unknown designer, most likely within their creative team, who can bring forward the new message the Florentine House wants to deliver.
While we await the next steps for Gucci and Alessandro Michele, we are left with Michele’s words in mind. “May you continue to nourish yourselves with your poetic and inclusive imagery, remaining faithful to your values. May you always live by your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom.”