Why Gucci is parting ways with Alessandro Michele – even though the progressive Italian fashion designer helmed the Kering brand for 7 years and saw sales boost with Lady Gaga’s House of Gucci

Alessandro Michele will soon step down as the creative director of Gucci. Photo: Gucci
The Italian designer Alessandro Michele is set to leave Gucci, where he has overseen a surge in sales at the fashion powerhouse since 2015, but seen his star fade in recent seasons, according to a report in industry bible Women’s Wear Daily on November 23.
Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele poses at the LACMA Art+Film Gala in Los Angeles, California, US, in November 2021. Photo: Reuters

Citing “well-placed sources”, the magazine said Michele was quitting after being asked to orchestrate a creative revamp to restore the brand’s lustre.

The French conglomerate Kering, which owns the Italian house, declined to comment.
A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci autumn/winter 2022-2023 fashion collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, on February 25. Photo: AP
With his bookish chic looks and vintage mash-ups that hearkened back to the 1970s and 80s, Michele helped turn the once-flagging house into a white-hot success, drawing in a new generation of fans with his anti-establishment veneer.

Michele, 49, also joined a handful of other designers by announcing in 2021 that the number of annual shows would be slashed to just two from five, saying that “clothes should have a longer life” and that his future collections would be “seasonless”.

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Alessandro Michele is leaving his role as creative director of Gucci, the fashion house announced on November 23, bringing an end to an eight-year tenure that sharply redefined Gucci’s codes with romanticism and gender fluidity, all the while powering revenues for the Kering parent. Photo: AP
Sales also got a boost from 2021’s Ridley Scott-directed House of Gucci film with Lady Gaga and a host of Hollywood A-listers.

But enthusiasm has begun to wane among industry insiders, according to WWD, with Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault eager for a quick change at the helm.

Designer Alessandro Michele greets the audience at the end of the show for fashion house Gucci during the Women’s autumn/winter 2017-2018 fashion week, in February 2017, in Milan, Italy. Photo: AFP

“Gucci is suffering from brand fatigue and Alessandro Michele has been doing the same thing for the past seven years,” financial analysts at the brokerage firm Bernstein said in a research note to clients.

“Institutional investors appear to agree that a new approach is needed to relaunch the brand,” added analysts at Royal Bank of Canada.

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  • The fashion powerhouse confirmed Michele’s exit from the brand, with WWD reporting the decision was made after a request for him to orchestrate a creative revamp
  • Under his direction, Michele had a vision for less and ‘seasonless’ shows – but Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault is eager for a quick change, according to WWD