Alessandro Michele’s time at Gucci has officially come to an end, Kering announced on Wednesday. The Roman visionary achieved tremendous success during his nearly eight-year run at the helm of the legendary Italian label, reviving the heritage house and fashion in general.
The designer took to Instagram to say goodbye, writing: “There are times when paths diverge because of the different perspectives each of us has. Today ends for me an extraordinary journey of more than twenty years within a company that I have worked tirelessly for. devoted my love and creative passion.”
Hired by Tom Ford, Michele first joined the Gucci team in the early s, working under Frida Giannini in the accessories studio. At the end of 2014, Gucci CEO Marco Mizzarri looked at the designer’s highly original vision and invited Michele to become Gucci’s creative director. Leading the house’s upcoming fall 2015 womenswear collection, the then fresh-faced took its first bow in January of the following year. In fact, his arrival was so fast that the Gucci team had to surround Michele during his inaugural appearance because he still hadn’t received any media training.
In a statement, Bizzari said: “I was lucky enough 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 past eight years. I would like to thank him for his 20 years of dedication for Gucci and for his vision, dedication and unconditional love for this unique home during his tenure as Creative Director.”
From the start, Michele left nothing unsaid – and his first collection, Fall 2015, let showgoers know he was leading the house toward the eclectic. During his tenure, he proved just that by welcoming a unified abolition of gendered archetypes and expanding the scope of fashion with an almost-anything-goes aesthetic. He cultivated the Gucci family and attracted influential figures as fans turned friends, including Jared Leto, Dakota Johnson, Billie Eilish and Harry Styles, whose collaboration collection with the designer, titled HA HA HA, just hit shelves.
Michele was a master broker of hugely high-profile collaborations. Think back to the Fall 2021 Hacker Project, where the designer collaborated with Demna’s Balenciaga, or more recently Gucci’s Fall 2022 crossover with adidas. He also revived Dapper Dan’s Harlem-based couturier and founded the Gucci Vault, which enabled the designer to resell updated gems from the brand’s archives and showcase the work of emerging visionaries. But his most moving teammate was (and still is) longtime partner Giovanni Attili, who played a pivotal role in writing the House’s impressive show notes.
However, nothing lasts forever in fashion. Despite the awe-inspiring factor of Michele’s forward-thinking designs, Gucci’s sales began to slowly decline, and by extension Kering’s stock fell. According to “well-placed sources” op WWD, Michele was “asked to initiate a strong design shift” to transform and revitalize the brand, though it appears he was unable to meet the demands of their request. Instead, Michele’s latest Gucci collection, Spring 2023, manifested the all-new dimension he’d created as the house’s leading visionary, with 68 sets of twins gracing the catwalk in a commanding, double-edged presentation.
Reflecting on his time at Gucci, Michele concluded, “During this long period of time, Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the individuals who have cared for and supported her, I send my sincerest thanks, my deepest and most sincere hug. Together with them I wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them, nothing I built would have been possible. To them goes my most sincere wish: may you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and elusive matter that makes life worth living. May you continue to nourish yourselves with poetic and inclusive imagery, staying true to your values. May you always live according to your passions, propelled by the winds of freedom.”
More fashion news: Raf Simons has closed his eponymous label after 27 years.