Gucci’s new creative director, the unknown Alessandro Michele, is a lot like the woman he champions: daring, curiously compelling—and with a streak of mystery and originality. His appointment as a helm of billion-dollar Italian luxury brand left everybody surprised, but no more than himself.
“I wasn’t even on the list,” Michele says, referring to the presumed roster of high-profile industry talents whose names had been bandied about for the coveted job.
From the very begining, Gucci maintained same appearance, vibe and idea. Even during the legendary Tom Ford period as a director, this brand never left the borders. You could say it was classy, original, maybe sometimes sexy, but 42 year-old Alessandro, with antique rings, long-haired looks of a Merovingian king managed to create his OWN Gucci. This kind of personalization definitely brought him and the brand fame. He pulled treasured vintage pieces from his wardrobe to use as inspirational starting points, and many prints were taken from antique textiles. Particular details, accessories from the collection became a must-wear for thousands of it-girls and fashionistas.
As Coco Chanel once mentioned, fashion is fashion when it reaches the streets of the city. And, nowadays, Gucci is everywhere! Streets, buildings, shops, internet, even in MEMES.
Michele’s own debut could hardly have been a more emphatic distancing from Giannini (the previous creative director). “We are really such different people,” he says. “Night and day. I am trying to cause a little revolution inside the company—to push another language, a different way to talk about beauty and sexiness, which is an old word. It’s about sensuality now. When I started the first collection, I was thinking not in terms of fashion but in terms of attitude,” he adds, “that sense of beauty which I tried to find for an old and beautiful and charming brand like Gucci.”
Michele’s predecessor, Frida Giannini, was the creative director for eight years, and during that period she and Patrizio di Marco, Gucci’s C.E.O., began a relationship and had a child. Near the end of her tenure, fashion critics grew bored with her clothes, many of which reworked themes that Gucci had been exploring since the nineties, when Tom Ford, the American designer, revitalized the brand with outré glamour. Sales fell, and in December, 2014, Giannini and di Marco were fired.
Michele’s clothes are pretty but not overtly sexy. Although they have a youthful verve, he has a preference for long sleeves, high necklines, and below-the-knee skirts. In the twelve collections that he has presented so far, he has not isolated a single silhouette and made it his signature. A few months later, on a June evening in New York, Michele was honored at the American fashion industry’s equivalent of the Oscars: the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards.
With all the history, mystery between the brand’s founders and massive Tom Ford makeover, today Gucci stands as one of the biggest luxury fashion houses so far.