He's been with the company for 20 years.
Today, Gucci announced that creative director Alessandro Michele is leaving the company. Michele, credited with revamping the brand away from the sex-on-stilettos aesthetic of his predecessors Frida Giannini and Tom Ford, has been with the company for two decades. Before his post as creative director, which he started in 2015, he had worked in the shoes and accessories department of the famed Italian luxury brand. The New York Times first reported the announcement.
The Times notes that Gucci, which is part of Kering, a French luxury collective that also owns Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, had been experiencing rapid growth since Michele took over, but that the numbers had been slowing. Gucci made up a huge amount of Kering's sales, but it didn't seem like enough to keep Michele in the brand's top spot.
“There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have,” Michele said in a statement. “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.”
For now, Gucci has not named a successor to Michele's brocade and gold throne and the design team will work in his stead.
“In order to re-accelerate, [Gucci] needs to open a new creative chapter,” Luca Solca from the research firm Sanford C. Bernstein told the Times. “We should credit Kering for knowing what they are doing, given they systematically and successfully revived faded brands in the past.”
Michele's time at Gucci will be marked by a huge shift in the brand's aesthetic, moving away from slick, overtly sexual designs to a quirky and colorful blend of androgyny, ruffles, and a more-is-more approach to dressing. Michele brought on names like Dakota Johnson, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Rey to front its campaigns, as well as Ryan Gosling and Miley Cyrus, replacing old spokespeople like Chris Evans and Evan Rachel Wood.
In addition to Michele's exit at Gucci, this season's game of designer musical chairs includes Ricardo Tisci leaving Burberry and being replaced by Bottega Veneta's Daniel Lee. Matthieu Blazy inherited the open spot at Bottega and Raf Simons announced that he would be shuttering his namesake brand to focus on his work at Prada with Miuccia Prada.
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