2015-2022. This has been a very particular week for the fashion industry in terms of radical changes, following last Monday’s announcement that Raf Simons was closing his eponymous brand, this Wednesday Alessandro Michele’s departure from Gucci was announced, closing an important nearyl eight-year chapter in the history of the Italian fashion luxury brand, and a 20-year history with the brand for the Roman designer.
The news, in a way, was to be expected, as yesterday an article in the trade paper Women’s Wear Daily reported on the very likely departure of the Roman designer. Today, Wednesday, Kering (the luxury group that owns Gucci) confirmed the news in a statement:
“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 center stage, where its place is. I wish him a great next chapter in his creative journey.”François-Henri Pinault, Kering Chairman & CEO.
Michele took over the creative direction of Gucci in January 2015, when Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri pulled him out of the accessories deapartment. Since then, the brand achieved quite positive growth, both in terms of profits and consumer reception and liking through the designer’s new vision of the brand, which was characterized by a gender-fluid approach and innovative creativity.
Experts comment that some of the possible reasons behind this move could be attributed to the fact that 1) the brand has not been doing so well lately, as since 2017 the pace of revenue growth had been steadily declining and by the end of 2021 sales grew below analysts’ expectations, and 2) a brand fatigue (especially from the Asian market) as well as the effects of the pandemic.
According to the anonymous source who reported to WWD about the designer’s departure, the luxury conglomerate had asked him for a creative rebranding to restore the brand’s appeal.
According to Kering’s statement, “the Gucci design office will continue to run the House until a new creative organization is announced.” The next we will see from the brand will be next January in Milan.
Let’s finish the note with Alessadro Michele’s statement:
“There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have. 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. 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. 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 sincerest 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.”Alessandro Michele