Michele was appointed creative director in January 2015, just days after he led a creative team that pulled together a menswear show in just five days, following the hasty exit of his predecessor. That collection announced Gucci’s new direction, with silken blouses for men featuring elaborate bows and ruffled necks along with fur-trimmed capes, as Michele redefined masculine dressing codes.
For most of his tenure, Gucci has turned in stellar revenues, accounting for most of Kerings profits. But it has been under some scrutiny recently after underperforming rivals.
Michele’s partnerships with Hollywood elite and VIPs were often rooted in friendships. Jared Leto has been a frequent front-row guest at Gucci shows during Michele’s tenure, for a time adopting the same straight long hair and beard sported by the Gucci designer.
Michele also has famously dressed Billie Eilish, Florence Welch and the Italian rock band Maneskin on its current tour. And he recently unveiled a collection designed with Harry Styles.
For his last runway collection, unveiled in September, Michele constructed a parallel universe of side-by-side shows separated by a wall that when lifted revealed twins in identical looks in synchronic stride. The reveal of the 68 sets of identically dressed twins left normally jaded fashionistas confessing they had been brought to tears.
Michele joined Gucci in 2002, becoming an associate to the creative director in May 2011. In 2014, he was named creative director of the Richard Ginori porcelain brand, owned by Gucci. He previously worked as a senior accessories designer at Fendi and studied at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome.
Gucci CEO and president, Marco Bizzarri, thanked Michele "for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci, and for his vision, devotion and unconditional love for this unique house.”
“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,’’ Pinault said in a statement.
Gucci said the in-house design team would take over the collections until a new creative director is named.
"To them goes my most sincerest wish: may you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life worth living,'' Michele said in his farewell statement.