No mention of such backroom moves was made in the statement announcing Michele’s departure, in which Gucci credited him with having played “a pivotal role in making the brand what it is today through his innovative creativity.”
Michele cited “different perspectives” as the reason for her departure, without elaborating.
“Today ends an extraordinary journey for me, of more than 20 years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion,” he said.
Michele was named creative director in January 2015, just days after he led a creative team that put together a menswear show in just five days, following the hasty departure of his predecessor. That collection heralded Gucci’s new direction, featuring men’s silk blouses with elaborate bows and ruffled collars alongside fur-trimmed capes, as Michele redefined men’s dress codes.
For most of his tenure, Gucci has generated stellar revenue, accounting for the bulk of Kering’s profits. But he has come under some scrutiny recently after poor results from his rivals.
Michele’s associations with the Hollywood elite and VIPs were often based on friendships. Jared Leto has been a frequent front row guest at Gucci shows during Michele’s tenure, and for a time he adopted the same long, straight hair and beard sported by the Gucci designer.
Michele has also dressed Billie Eilish, Florence Welch and the Italian rock band Maneskin on their current tour. She and she recently presented a collection designed with Harry Styles.
For her latest runway collection, presented in September, Michele built a parallel universe of side-by-side runway shows separated by a wall that, when lifted, revealed identical-looking twins in synchronous step. The reveal of the 68 pairs of identically dressed twins left normally jaded fashionistas confessing that they had cried.
Michele joined Gucci in 2002 and became Associate Creative Director in May 2011. In 2014, he was appointed Creative Director of Gucci-owned porcelain brand Richard Ginori. He previously worked as a senior accessories designer at Fendi and studied at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome.
Gucci CEO and Chairman Marco Bizzarri thanked Michele “for his 20-year commitment to Gucci and for his vision, devotion and unconditional love for this unique house.”
“The path that Gucci and Alessandro have traveled together in recent years is unique and will remain a landmark moment in the house’s history,” Pinault said in a statement.
Gucci said the in-house design team will take charge of the collections until a new creative director is named.
“My most sincere wish goes to them: that they continue to cultivate their dreams, the subtle and intangible stuff that makes life worthwhile,” Michele said in her farewell statement.