Unlike the other reported contenders for the creative director position at Gucci (think: Tom Ford, Riccardo Tisci, Joseph Altuzarra, etc.), Alessandro Michele, who is slated to begin his tenure immediately, is not exactly a well-known name. So, ahead of his official debut during the Fall/Winter 2015 womenswear shows in Milan next month, here is a bit of information we dug up about Gucci’s brand new creative director …
Michele has been at Gucci since 2002, having worked closely with former creative director Frida Giannini during her tenure. He moved to Gucci’s Design Office in 2002, assuming growing responsibilities within the Creative Department until he was promoted to the role of Associate to the Creative Director in May 2011.
He is already a creative director. In September 2014, Michele took on the responsibility of Creative Director of Richard Ginori, the renowned Italian fine porcelain brand that Gucci acquired in June 2013.
He studied at Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome, which boasts graduates that include: Frida Giannini; Roberta Andreetti, Design Director for Women’s Shoes at Gucci; Aldo Maria Camillo, Creative Director for Cerruti; Filippo Cilia, Senior Designer for Womenswear at Salvatore Ferragamo; Guiseppe de Gennaro, Senior Designer of Haute Couture at Valentino; Eliana Giorgi, Women’s leather goods designer at Gucci; and Matteo Russo, Senior designer at Alexander McQueen, among others.
Much like Giannini, Michele started at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He joined Fendi as its Senior Accessories Designer before switching to Gucci in 2002. (Giannini joined Fendi in 1997).
Michele, who is said to be passionate about antiquities and interiors, helped to create Gucci’s new store concept in Florence that was unveiled in June.
He is the third accessory designer to take the main creative reins at a major brand, following Ms. Giannini herself. She was design director of Gucci accessories under the former creative director, Tom Ford. (At privately held Valentino, meanwhile, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli each became creative directors after running the brand’s accessory business.)
Mr. Michele is also the third insider to be promoted to a top design role by Kering, after Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, and Ms. Giannini.
Michele favors commercially-viable designs. He told W Magazine in 2010 that he admires Giannini because her sensibility is fundamentally conservative, in that she aspires to make pieces that will appeal to a wide variety of women over a long period of time. He said: “I don’t think that being innovative means making only strange or weird things that you would never see in the street.”