Alessandro Michele Leaves Gucci After 7 Years As Creative Director
Here’s everything to know.
On the heels of Raf Simons shuttering his iconic namesake label, Gucci dropped a major piece of news of their own. As reported by The New York Times, the house announced that its Creative Director Alessandro Michele is leaving Gucci. For those who have followed the famed designer’s ascent at the Italian maison — he started as their accessories designer in 2002, then became creative director in 2015 — the departure will come with surprise and sadness. (Prior to him at the helm, Frida Giannini held that title from 2006 to 2014 and Tom Ford before her, from 1990 to 2004.)
Michele released a brief statement on the news, obtained by the Times, that said: “There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have. 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.”
Under Michele’s creative eye, Gucci was transformed from your typical luxury brand celebrating glamour and wealth to one that promoted eccentricity, gender fluidity, and a vintage-inspired aesthetic. You only need to look at Michele’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection, where models carried replicas of their own heads down the runway, or the recent Twinsburg presentation — where 68 pairs of identical twins walked down the catwalk — for a taste of the avante-garde.
On the topic of genderless fashion, Michele was known for incorporating both male and female models, who wore Gucci’s clothes interchangeably, on the runway. He continued to tap into that conversation via The MX Project, a unisex collection of apparel and accessories that launched in 2020. This inclusive world that Michele created was further emphasized when his creations popped up on celebrities like Jared Leto and Harry Styles, stars who don’t adhere to societal norms of how specific genders should dress. (Styles notably wore a Gucci jacket and dress in Vogue’s December 2020 issue.)
Given Michele’s interest in contributing to cultural conversations (he even brought Gucci into the fashion metaverse world) coupled with his unique designer perspectives, it’s no surprise he has garnered a legion of fans over the years. In addition to being backed by celebrities, Gen Zers, in particular, named Gucci as their favorite luxury brand, and the NYT reported that Gucci was “responsible for the bulk of [Kering’s] profits, earning almost 10 billion euros in revenue in 2021.” (The French luxury conglomerate also owns Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.)
Despite all the past successes, it appears that Gucci’s recent sluggish growth, plus creative differences between Michele and Kering ultimately contributed to his departure. In the interim, the Gucci design team will produce the next seasons’ collections until a successor is announced. And for fans wondering what’s next for Michele, the world is his oyster at this point, so we live in hope that he’ll still be in the design game.