Gucci is currently in the midst of its strongest growth period in 20 years, with it’s parent company Kering reporting profits that are nearly double what they were projected to earn this past quarter, and they have the whimsical genius of creative director Alessandro Michele to thank. Since taking over the reigns at Gucci from Frida Giannini back in 2015, Michele has put his creative stamp all over the Italian luxury brand. His “new vintage” aesthetic has struck a cord with buyers and celebrities; and in just two short years, Michele has managed to make his version of Gucci easily recognizable and stand out not only from the other major brands and designers of his time, but also from the illustrious Gucci archives. Looking back, one will point out an Alessandro Gucci design with ease, a feat that some designers struggle their whole careers to achieve.
So how did the soft spoken, quirky long haired Michele land himself in one of the most enviable positions in fashion? After working behind the scenes with Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, Michele was hired by Tom Ford to design handbags at Gucci in 2002, where he has remained ever since. Working side by side with Giannini, after she was appointed creative director in 2006, Michele watched, learned and understood the meaning of the Gucci brand better than anyone. When Giannini and then CEO Patrizio di Marco departed the label at the same time, it was Di Marco’s replacement, Marco Bizzarri who saw the untapped potential in Michele and decided to give the behind the scenes designer a shot in the spotlight.
With his appointment made public a mere five days before the Fall 2015 Menswear show, Michele took what Giannini and started and brazenly, without hesitation, began to make it his own. With his first womenswear presentation slated for a month later, Michele hit the ground running, pulling inspiration from his own vintage collection. He remade ancient fabrics in vibrant colors and let the clothes tell a story of days gone past. Although his collections can be a bit overwhelming with the sheer measure of pieces and influences to sort through and digest, the new Gucci was a startling, and welcome, contrast to the strict, streamlined collections that Giannini had been displaying. His penchant for beauty, not sexiness, is decidedly modern, as the young designer favors high necks, long sleeves and skirts that fall below the knee. In a world of overexposure, the new Gucci woman stands out with vibrant modesty.
Having spent the past 15 years rising through the ranks at Gucci, it is a safe bet that Michele is safely invested in his home. With Kering happy and an adoring fan base, the fashion world eagerly waits to see what the young artist will create next.
Written by ELIZABETH KRAMSKY
Visual Editor JALAL MOUGHRABY
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