Fashion that gets the pulse racing is always a good thing. Fashion that makes you obsessive, irrational, frantic, which makes you pore over every detail, is a rare thing. There are few designers who manage to elicit such emotions, and when it happens, the six-month wait until the next full collection is the longest of your life. Alessandro has proven, so far, to be one of a handful of designers of the past few years to be a standout visionary, whose approach to every aspect of fashion is imbued with fun, creativity, and yet entwined with a respect for design. It is now nearly a year since Gucci appointed Michele as creative director, replacing Frida Giannini, in a brave move, which, thankfully, has paid off.

Gucci has been, to many, a name synonymous with gaudy, over-priced accessories, brown, green and red, or an overexposure of the famous logo. The brand has seen so many highs and lows in its day; its image is a mix of good times, and bad. The good times, for so many, were surely during the heyday of Tom Ford, when he brought a sexy, modern, provocative aesthetic to Gucci, and secured its place in the upper tiers of the hierarchy of high fashion. Giannini successfully managed to keep profits high once she took over as Creative Director in 2005, but never truly managed to lead the pack, or ring the changes, quite like Ford did.

Michele’s appointment as Creative Director comes after 13 years of working for Gucci, under the leadership of both Ford and Giannini. Over this time, he developed his own sense of what feels right for the house, and what elements were missing, He is overseeing the biggest change to the house since the mid-90’s. Time may yet tell that his shake-up of the house will have even more of an impact than Ford’s efforts, over 20 years ago.

Alessando Michele was born in Rome in 1972, and studied fashion in his hometown, before working for a time at Fendi. It was here he was approached to work for Gucci, where his talent for design was employed to focus and lead the accessories department. His time at Gucci means he knows his teams, is familiar with the business, and is comfortable in his surroundings; this all aids in creating confident, fully-realised collections.
The dynamics of a global business are hard to comprehend, and Gucci, being one of the world’s most successful companies, has a ruthless, hard-edged quality; this makes Michele’s appointment yet more unique. Somebody saw a determination in his designs, to challenge the status quo of high fashion, and bravely believed in his vision.

Michele premiered this vision in February 2015, with an incredible collection, featuring elements of folk patterns, 70’s detailing, clever uses of fur and accessories, and a vast array of fabrics; heavy wools in tailored coats, silks that looked fluid and metallic, and chiffon which layered to create a dreamy impression. His next collection was yet more accomplished, with the one standout piece being a long dress, in a mix of bold yellow, blue, purple, green and red, with trompe l’oeil ruffles, bows, and a belt. It was an incredible creation, which, for many, firmly cemented Michele as, already, one of the greats. Throughout the collection the heady mix of colours and fabrics, mixed with the intricate embroidery, kooky accessories, and a subtle sexiness - dazzled.
His recent pre-fall show proved equally successfully as his first two, with Instagram going wild over every new garment.

Michele’s work for Gucci feels like a movement in fashion; He is a creator to be admired. He has a vision that challenges the norm, and a rare ability to pivot trends. We needed his vision; we didn’t know we needed it, but then, like the best of things, we normally never do.

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Written by Andrew MacKinnon
Photos courtesy of: i-d.vice.com


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