It's been a big week for fashion news. First came the announcement that Raf Simons would be closing his namesake label after almost three decades, which ignited rumours about Miuccia Prada's plans for retirement. As it turns out, we were focused on the wrong Italian House. This morning, Business of Fashion officially confirmed that Alessandro Michele would be stepping down as creative director at Gucci, effective immediately.
After a 7-year long reign that saw Gucci transform into a maximalist space for fantasy and above all, fun, Michele addressed his exit on Instagram. "There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have," the Roman designer said.
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"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," the post continued. "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."
In 2015, Michele was plucked from the accessories studio to helm the Italian Maison after Frida Giannini departed. With numerous collaborations under his belt, more recent ones including the likes of Harry Styles and Adidas, and a dreamer's vision that was outstripped only by himself, season after season, under Michele's watch Gucci became a home for all the oddballs and eccentrics, fantasists and artists, and for that Michele's era will be sorely missed.
In its article, Business of Fashion also noted that following on from the pandemic and 2020, a period where Gucci's revenue fell by 22%, the growth rate when compared to other major houses has been noticeably slower, something that's been chalked up to consumer fatigue.
At this stage it's unknown who will step on as creative director at Gucci, nor do we have any inkling on what Alessandro Michele has planned for the future.
In the comments of his Instagram posts, people have expressed their gratitude towards Michele, including Donatella Versace, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Alastair McKimm, Jodie Turner-Smith, among many others. Let us end with Michele's final words and wishes. "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."