Gucci made the announcement on Wednesday that Alessandro Michele, the firm’s creative director, would be departing the business. This was the most significant change in the creative direction of a fashion brand since the Covid-19 epidemic.
Mr. Michele, 49, a designer who was born in Rome and took over the top job in 2015, had been instrumental in transforming Gucci, seemingly overnight, from a fading symbol of noughties glamour into a purveyor of eccentric inclusivity that embodied the wider cultural conversation around gender, sexual identity, and race. Mr. Michele was instrumental in transforming Gucci from a fading symbol of noughties glamour into a purveyor of eccentric inclusivity that embodie
His reimagining of the company sent shockwaves through the fashion industry and generated tens of billions of dollars in revenue for Kering, a French luxury conglomerate that is also the parent company of Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, amongst other well-known labels. However, it was Gucci that was responsible for the majority of group revenues, making about 10 billion euros in sales in 2021 — and Mr. Michele and Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s chief executive, were credited with the success of the company.
At the very least, provided that it was successful. In recent times, on the other hand, the previously unstoppable expansion has begun to slow down. Even while Mr. Michele had sought to broaden Gucci’s reach with restaurants, the metaverse, and collaborations with Adidas and Harry Styles, the fundamental offering started to provoke yawns rather than desires.
According to the statement, the Gucci design team will continue to develop collections until an announcement is made on a replacement.
When the markets opened on Wednesday, rumours about his departure, which had been published earlier by Women’s Wear Daily, caused an early lift to Kering’s share price. Analysts noted that a new designer may help to resuscitate sales, which contributed to the positive sentiment around the news.
A prime example of this would be Mr. Michele’s time spent at Gucci. After joining the company in 2002 as an accessories designer, Mr. Bizzarri promoted him to the position of creative director in 2010, despite the fact that he was almost entirely unknown outside of the company. This promotion gave him free reign over not only the products, but also the stores, campaigns, and communications.
His aesthetic, which was known as the magpie aesthetic, appeared to be ideally calibrated for the more democratic era of social media. His aesthetic roamed freely across different historical periods, reference points, and concepts of beauty. His displays were a mishmash of different things, such as jewellery and eyeglasses, purses, and garments, and they emphasised individuality above chicness. Because of his long hair and beard, he had the appearance of a counterculture guru (it also helped that he had a tendency to quote Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes in his show notes), and the fashion industry practically treated him as if he were one, especially once the numbers started ticking up.
A year ago, he staged his first live presentation since the epidemic started in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. In attendance were celebrities like as Gwyneth Paltrow, Dakota Johnson, and Billie Eilish (who often wore Gucci in public), while Jared Leto walked the runway. His most recent presentation at Milan Fashion Week was one of the most highly anticipated of the new season. It was a tribute to identical twins.
However, abrupt leadership changes that are devoid of sentimentality have developed into something of a tradition at Kering. This is the third time that Mr. Pinault has abruptly changed the course of his flagship brand without providing any explanation. The first time was in 2004, when he severed ties with Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole. The second time was in 2014, when he terminated the employment of both the fashion designer Frida Giannini and the chief executive Patrizio di Marco.
Mr. Michele’s departure comes after a fresh game of musical chairs in the luxury fashion sector, which is still recuperating from the effects of the Covid epidemic on its sales and supply chains. Mr. Michele’s departure comes after a renewed game of musical chairs in the luxury fashion business.
Burberry made the announcement in September that Mr. Lee will be taking over as the company’s new creative director, succeeding Riccardo Tisci. In turn, he had been succeeded at Bottega Veneta by Matthieu Blazy, the up-and-coming design director who had been working under him. This month, Estée Lauder acquired Tom Ford’s trademark brand in the fashion industry. And then, Raf Simons, the Belgian designer who, along with Miuccia Prada, serves as co-creative director of Prada, announced that he would be closing his namesake label, which was relatively small but had a significant amount of influence, after 27 years, signalling the difficulties faced by independent names. Phoebe Philo, a former designer for Celine who is now unemployed, is said to be in the process of launching a new business at some point in 2019.
The attention will now shift to what comes next with Gucci, namely how much head-spinning change is on the horizon, as well as whether or not Mr. Bizzarri will also leave his position. In the month of January, the company will most likely show off its next men’s collection in Milan. The performance will continue as normal.