Cover Alessandro Michele and Gucci ambassador Lana Del Rey (Photo: Getty Images)

During his seven-year helm, Michele transformed the Italian brand into an eclectic fashion powerhouse that embraced diversity and inclusivity

It’s the end of an era: Alessandro Michele is leaving Gucci.

The fashion designer, who has served as creative director of the Italian luxury brand since 2015, announced the news on Instagram.

“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,” Michele wrote in his post. “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.”

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Michele was at the helm of Gucci for seven years, but he began his career at the Italian fashion house over 20 years ago when Tom Ford was still creative director. Michele focused on designing accessories and handbags for the brand, eventually rising through the ranks within the company. His appointment as creative director came hot on the heels of the departure of Gucci’s former designer, Frida Giannini.

Michele’s first Gucci collection for the fall/winter 2015 season established all the style codes that would continue to define his vision of the fashion brand. He offered a genderless and romantic approach to dressing, infused with references to vintage fashion and cinema.

Michele’s designs were also unabashedly maximalist: through his designs, he put bold colour, luxurious fabrications and extravagant embellishments that nodded to the glamour of Old Hollywood in the spotlight.

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The fashion industry would come to embrace Michele’s eclectic aesthetic and the spectacular fashion shows that he dreamt up for Gucci. During his reign, Gucci became one of the most successful (and most loved) fashion brands in the world, attracting a celebrity fanbase that included stars like Billie Eilish, Rihanna, Tyler, the Creator, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey.

Michele spurred frenzy for Gucci through exciting collaborations with the likes of Disney, Adidas and The North Face. Gucci x Balenciaga memorably became one of the biggest fashion releases of 2021. He also tapped on star power, inviting celebrities like Kai of Exo and Harry Styles to collaborate on limited-edition capsule collections.

Under Michele’s lead, the colourful Gucci universe would also expand to include Gucci Décor, a furniture and homeware line, as well as Gucci Beauty.

Michele’s Gucci was also known to reflect his personal values. Through the casting of the brand’s fashion shows and campaigns, he championed an unconventional idea of beauty that was built on diversity and inclusivity. Those are two causes that Gucci would continue to advocate for—along with sustainability and gender equality—through its Equilibrium programme, which launched in 2018 under Michele’s tenure.

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Speaking about his departure, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering (which owns Gucci), said, “The road that Gucci and Alessandro walked together over the past years is unique and will remain as an outstanding moment in the history of the house. I am grateful to Alessandro for bringing so much of himself in this adventure. His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci centre stage, where its place is.”

There is still no word as to who will replace Michele as creative director of Gucci, but the brand said in a statement that it “will continue to carry the direction of the house forward until a new creative organisation will be announced.”

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