Who is Alessandro Michele?
Alessandro Michele, an Italian Fashion Designer, is Gucci’s eccentric Creative Director since the year 2015. He is the dynamic and energetic force behind the revival and commercial success of Gucci’s collections. Known for his contemporary sensibilities combined with the unique understanding of what makes Gucci different from other brands, Alessandro has built a compelling narrative that resonates with Gucci’s loyal followers as well as discoverers. His respect for the vintage is keenly reflected in his sincerity to act as a gatekeeper to the traditions of the House of Gucci while he is at the helm. Personally, he is an avid antique collector of home décor, clothing and accessories. Alessandro’s sense of responsibility drives him towards making Gucci a significant brand that is marketable and sustainable without having to compromise with its core beliefs.
Equipped with a costume design education from Rome’s Accademia di Costume e di Moda (Academy of Costume and Fashion), Alessandro Michele started his career by joining Les Copains, the Italian knitwear brand. After this, he went to work as the Senior Accessories Designer under Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi.
He was noticed by Tom Ford in 2002 and brought on board to Gucci’s design office in London. Since then, Alessandro proved himself in various roles within the Gucci studio. He held the designation of Leather Goods Design Director in 2006, Associate to Creative Director Frida Giannini in 2011 and took up the additional role of being the Creative Director for Gucci’s Florentine porcelain brand Richard Ginori, in 2014.
Alessandro was made the Creative Director and the person responsible for all product categories, collections and Gucci’s global brand image, on 21 January 2015. After appointing Alessandro as the Creative Director, Gucci saw a 51% increase in its first quarter revenue, in March 2017. This was one of the strongest numbers that House of Gucci had seen in almost 20 years.
Alessandro Michele was the person to push for and get a confirmation on the decision to stop using fur in Gucci products, making them the first major design house to start this cruelty-free garments initiative. This decision was taken in Gucci’s 2018 Spring collection, after which brands like Burberry and Versace followed suit.
Alessandro Michele’s sense of style and fresh vision has made him a popular name in the fashion industry making celebrities like Jared Leto, Lana Del Ray, Elton John and Björk loyally follow his aesthetics to create statements. One such example of an iconic look was that of Jared Leto from 2019 Met Gala where he was dressed in a diamond studded, floor length Gucci gown, holding his own head.
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Addressed as “Maestro” by the CEO and President of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, Alessandro Michele is no stranger to controversies. Gucci’s Fall-Winter 2018 collection featured an $890 black sweater with red lips that sparked a blackface controversy, following which Alessandro publicly apologised and explained that he had drawn inspiration from Leigh Bowery’s flamboyant make-up for the design.
However, he took full accountability and the product was taken off the website and stores.
Gucci was again criticized all over social media for the ‘Indy Full Turban’ headscarf that was retailing at $790, as it resembled a Sikh turban. Following this incident, Alessandro’s designs made a provocative move in the Spring Summer 2020 Milan show by having models walk the ramp wearing uniforms that looked like straitjackets and institutional wear.
Fielding the backlash, Gucci appointed Renée Tirado, a lawyer, as their global head for equity, inclusion and diversity who will be working on improving awareness within the organisation.
Awards & Honours
Alessandro Michele won the International Fashion Designer Of The Year Award, at the British Fashion Awards and the (Council Of Fashion Designers Of America) CFDA International Award in 2016
He was one of Hypebeast’s HB100, in 2016 and 2017, which is an honour bestowed upon the 100 most influential people of the industry.
Family & Personal Life
Born on 25 November 1972 in Rome, Italy, Alessandro Michele’s family encouraged his love for real beauty and nature. His mother was an assistant film executive and his father was an enthusiast of history and art. Instead of playing football as a kid, he would spend hours visiting art galleries, churches and museums with his father.
He has an older sister, Roberta and two nephews: Tommasso and Pietro.
His boyfriend is Giovanni (Vanni) Attili, who has been Alessandro’s partner for over a decade now. Vanni is a professor of urban planning at Rome’s Sapienza University and spends considerable amount of time researching the Haida and Dakelh people in Alaska.