Gucci has appointed accessories designer Alessandro Michele as its next creative director, succeeding Frida Giannini as the head of the fashion brand. Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of Gucci's parent company, Kering, has approved the appointment, saying: "Alessandro Michele has both the qualities and the vision necessary to bring a new contemporary perspective to Gucci and lead the brand into an exciting new creative chapter of its history." Michele, 42, worked as an associate to Giannini, overseeing leather goods, shoes, jewelry and homeware. In September, he added the role of creative director of porcelain maker Richard Ginori 1735 SpA, which Florence, Italy-based Gucci bought in 2013. According to a statement from Kering: "Gucci and Kering are pleased to announce the appointment of Alessandro Michele as Gucci's new Creative Director with total creative responsibility for all of Gucci's collections and its brand image. Alessandro's first collection in his new role will be for Women’s ready-to-wear for Autumn/Winter 2015-16 to be presented on 25 February, in Milan."
According to the New York Times, the appointment of a widely respected accessories designer like Mr. Michele suggests that former CEO Patrizio di Marco’s successor, Marco Bizzarri, intends to stick with a strategic push into higher-end luxury, especially accessories like handbags. Analysts said Mr. Michele’s appointment signaled a certain internal continuity. But Mr. Michele and the Gucci design team presented an autumn men’s wear show in Milan on Monday that fashion critics said brought a notable aesthetic departure from Ms. Giannini’s work and seemed directed at a younger and more sartorially adventurous consumer.