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Alessandro Michele is departing Gucci after nearly eight years in charge of the brand. The designer has since the beginning of 2015 infused the brand with his eccentric, androgynous, everything but the kitchen sink style. He attracted well-known performers like Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and Jared Leto, and he made each performance into a spectacle. But as of right now, his period is finished.
“I was fortunate to have had the opportunity 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,” Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri said in a statement. “I would like to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and for his vision, devotion, and unconditional love for this unique House during his tenure as Creative Director.”
The announcement comes as Gucci’s pace of growth continues to lag behind other brands owned by its parent company, Kering, in terms of rate of expansion. Michele “was asked to initiate a strong design shift,” according to WWD, but he was reportedly unable to carry out the request.
Michele expressed his thanks in a post on his own Instagram account. “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 twenty years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion. 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 sincerest 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.”
After Frida Giannini left the company in January 2015, Michele was chosen to serve as its new creative director. At the house, he had previously worked for Tom Ford and Giannini. Beginning with the men’s fall 2015 collection, Michele showed what type of head designer he would be: someone who opposed gendered clothing yet welcomed grandeur. In her debut line, Michele dressed both men and women in identical outfits, mixing complete suits with sandals, fur-lined loafers without backs, and silk shirts and red lace tops.
Following Daniel Lee’s abrupt removal from his position at Bottega Veneta last year, despite a generally solid performance and positive reviews, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, has now fired Michele. Nevertheless, the choice was wise since Matthieu Blazy has subsequently taken over Bottega to great success and acclaim.
Gucci has not yet announced his replacement, and Michele has not stated where he plans to go next. The design office will carry on without a creative director for the time being.
This is the second significant designer-related news to emerge this week; only recently, it was revealed that Raf Simons would shut down his own label after 27 years in business.