Alessandro Michele to exit his role as creative director of Gucci

Italian house Gucci has confirmed Alessandro Michele will leave after a seven-year tenure in which his eclectic aesthetic has proved a critical and commercial success

Models in Alessandro Michele Gucci
Gucci A/W 2017
(Image credit: Photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Alessandro Michele is set to leave Gucci, the Italian house confirmed yesterday evening (23 November 2022). The Rome-born designer, who took over from forebear Frida Giannini in 2015, has transformed Gucci in his seven-year tenure with eclectic, transporting collections that cross eras, continents and cultural touchpoints in their inspirations. Outside of clothing, his imaginative approach has influenced all areas of the house, from the introduction of Gucci beauty to homeware and high jewellery. François-Henri Pinault, chair and chief executive of Kering – the luxury goods conglomerate that owns Gucci – thanked Michele in a statement. ‘His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci centre stage, where its place is.’

‘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,’ said Michele in his own statement on Instagram. ‘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.

Alessandro Michele to exit Gucci after seven-year tenure

‘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 [sincere] 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.’

Michele was originally hired by Tom Ford two decades ago to focus on accessories; a longtime member of the Gucci team, his appointment in 2015 came as a surprise to the industry. But a languid, romantic first collection – an A/W 2015 menswear collection created in just five days – set the blueprint for his approach, blurring lines of gender with 1970s-inspired silhouettes (a silk pussy-bow blouse, fur-lined open-back loafers, and use of lace would all become signatures). Just a year later, in its October 2016 issue, Wallpaper* highlighted Michele as a ‘Game-Changer’.

Boys in Alessandro Michele Gucci

Gucci A/W 2015, Alessandro Michele’s first collection

(Image credit: Photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans)

The collections that followed drew from increasingly expansive inspiration points – from neoclassical Rome to the Golden Age of Hollywood – in dramatic runway presentations that have taken place in cities around the world, including Milan, Paris, Los Angeles and the designer’s native Rome. A raft of celebrities and cultural figures have adopted the brand under his tenure, perhaps most notably the musician Harry Styles, who recently collaborated with Michele on Ha Ha Ha, a capsule collection of clothing. Michele’s last runway show, during Milan Fashion Week S/S 2023, featured 68 pairs of twins in identical looks – a gesture he dedicated to his mother, who was a twin herself.

‘I am a son of two mothers: mum Eralda and mum Giuliana. They were magically mirrored. One multiplied the other. That was my world, perfectly double and doubled,’ he said.

Twin models walking down a runway holding hands wearing dark grey jackets and long dark grey pants which expose their thighs.

Alessandro Michele’s ‘Twinburg’ collection

(Image credit: Courtesy of Gucci)

Michele has enjoyed a rare combination of critical and commercial success, with the revenue of the house reportedly tripling during his tenure, according to Business of Fashion. As of yet, there is no word as to who will replace Michele at Gucci. The house is scheduled to show a collection in January 2023.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.