Rumours had surfaced surrounding the stability of Alessandro Michele’s role but the fashion world was rocked by the official announcement made by Gucci yesterday evening that the creative director was leaving the brand. Since joining the Italian brand in 2015 Michele revived both its reception and revenue. More recently, the brand saw major success in partnering with everyone’s favourite it boy and musician Harry Styles. After seven successful years, the possible reasons for the designer’s swift exit has ignited online debate.
Speculations were sparked on Tuesday by an anonymous source who told WWD that parent-company Kering requested the creative director to “initiate a strong design shift” for Gucci, which was not met. Diet Prada (@diet_prada), Instagram’s fashion watchdog, wrote on Wednesday that in spite of exponential growth in the first five financial years, the brand has been “plateauing to a slump.”
Michele appears to confirm artistic differences in an Instagram post, where he says: “There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have.” To express his profound gratitude to the company, he continues: “Together with them I have wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them, none of what I have built would have been possible.”
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The industry widely admired Michele for his approach to modernising the heritage brand with gender-fluid silhouettes and bold prints, appealing to a new global generation of consumers. And it is clear his departure is felt by Gen Z as many take to Twitter to show their support.
I will miss Alessandro Michele’s mind at Gucci, he was just insane. A true visionary pic.twitter.com/pcz0Qz9aNP
— Eboni???? (@VersaceVenus_) November 23, 2022
Where were you when you saw Alessandro Michele’s first Gucci collection? (I was in the GQ Style office slash fashion cupboard and we all stopped what we were doing to live stream it and were subsequently shook) pic.twitter.com/xcZIBMZZlB
— Hannah Tindle (@hannahtindle) November 23, 2022
real video of alessandro michele explaining harry that he is leaving guccipic.twitter.com/QfPVFPiXW6
— zar (@littlefreakbby) November 23, 2022
These sentiments reflect offline too as Immy Palmer, Fashion Journalism student at LCF, says: “I do feel really sad. I also feel a bit disappointed because he was the only creative director – so far – who finally outlived the five year lifespan. And I also think the Harry Styles thing, which I imagine brought a lot of revenue to Gucci,” – the brand’s sales almost tripled from £3.3 billion in 2015 to £8.3 billion in 2021 – she continues, “was all down to him because it was really born out of their personal relationship.”