Alessandro Michele has stepped down as creative director in Gucci after almost eight years. During that time, he helped the Italian fashion house turn around its fortunes.
Kering, the luxury house’s parent company, announced the decision on Wednesday. It said the 49-year-old designer had “played a fundamental part in making the brand what it is today.”
The conglomerate’s chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault, added in a statement: “The road that Gucci and Alessandro walked together over the past years is unique and will remain as an outstanding moment in the history of the House…His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci center stage, where its place is.”
Michele was a surprise appointment to the top job in 2015; having joined Gucci as a handbag designer, and with no experience helming a major label. But with the brand’s relevance seemingly in decline, he instigated a major overhaul of its identity; eschewing the overtly sexy aesthetic pioneered by predecessor Tom Ford in favour of a more whimsical aesthetic dubbed “geek chic.”
Michele then ushered in an era of colorful, maximalist designs, reimagining Renaissance art through fashion. His genderfluid collections also increasingly blurred the distinction between the label’s menswear and womenswear lines; while savvy collaborations with the likes of Adidas and The North Face helped give the label mass market appeal.
In 2017, Michele was named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.