MILAN (AP) — Alessandro Michele is leaving his position as Gucci’s creative director, the fashion house announced on Wednesday, ending an eight-year tenure that sharply redefined Gucci’s codes with romance and gender fluidity, while boosting revenues for the Kering parents .
Womenswear Daily reported on Michele’s expected departure on Tuesday, citing sources who said Michele had failed to comply with a request to “launch a strong design change” and that the chairman of Gucci’s parent company Kering, Francois-Henri Pinault, was looking for a change of pace .
Such backroom moves were not mentioned in the statement announcing Michele’s departure, in which Gucci credited him with “playing a fundamental role in making the brand what it is today through his groundbreaking creativity.”
Michele cited “different perspectives” as the reason for his departure, without going into detail.
“Today ends for me an extraordinary journey that has spanned more than 20 years, at a company to which I have relentlessly devoted all my love and creative passion,” he said.
Michele was appointed creative director in January 2015, just days after leading a creative team that put together a menswear show in just five days following the precipitous departure of its predecessor. This collection heralded Gucci’s new direction, with men’s silk blouses featuring intricate bows and ruffled necks, and fur-trimmed capes as Michele redefined male dressing codes.
For most of his tenure, Gucci has enjoyed excellent earnings, which make up the majority of Kering’s profits. But it has come under scrutiny lately after outpacing its rivals.
Michele’s partnerships with Hollywood elite and VIPs were often rooted in friendships. Jared Leto was a frequent front row guest at Gucci shows during Michele’s tenure and for a time sported the same sleek long hair and beard as the Gucci designer.
Michele has also famously dressed Billie Eilish, Florence Welch and Italian rock band Maneskin on her current tour. And he recently unveiled a collection designed with Harry Styles.
For his latest runway collection, unveiled in September, Michele constructed a parallel universe of side-by-side shows separated by a wall that, when lifted, revealed identical-looking twins walking in sync. The unveiling of the 68 sets of identically dressed twins had normally jaded fashionistas admitting they’d been brought to tears.
Michele joined Gucci in 2002 and became an associate of the creative director in May 2011. In 2014 he was appointed creative director of the Richard Ginori porcelain brand, owned by Gucci. Previously, he worked as a senior accessories designer at Fendi and studied at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome.
Marco Bizzarri, CEO and President of Gucci, thanked Michele “for his 20-year commitment to Gucci and for his vision, dedication and unconditional love for this one-of-a-kind house.”
“The path that Gucci and Alessandro have shared over the past few years is unique and will remain a defining moment in the history of the house,” Pinault said in a statement.
Gucci said its in-house design team will handle the collections until a new creative director is appointed.
“To her goes my sincerest wish: may you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life worth living,” Michele said in his farewell statement.
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