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24 Nov

Gucci Confirms Alessandro Michele Exit

Alessandro Michele Exit

MILAN – Alessandro Michele Exit Gucci and parent company Kering on Wednesday evening said Alessandro Michele can be exiting the brand, relinquishing his role as creative director. This confirms a WWD report from Tuesday.

“I used to be fortunate to have had the chance to fulfill Alessandro at the top of 2014, since then we’ve had the pleasure to work closely together as Gucci has charted its successful path over these last eight years,” said Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri in an announcement.

“I would love to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and for his vision, devotion and unconditional love for this unique house during his tenure as creative director.”

François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, said: “The road that Gucci and Alessandro walked together over the past years is exclusive and can remain as an impressive moment within the history of the House. I’m grateful to Alessandro for bringing a lot of himself on this adventure.

His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci center stage, where its place is. I wish him an awesome next chapter in his creative journey.”

Michele, who was appointed to the highest creative role in January 2015, said, “there are occasions when paths part ways due to the various perspectives each one in all us could have. Today a unprecedented journey ends for me, lasting greater than 20 years, inside an organization to which I even have tirelessly dedicated all my love and inventive passion.

During this long period, Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this clan, to all of the individuals who’ve taken care of and supported it, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt embrace. Along with them I even have wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them, none of what I even have built would have been possible.

To them goes my most sincerest wish: may you proceed to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life value living. May you proceed to nourish yourselves with poetic and inclusive imagery, remaining faithful to your values. May you mostly live by your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom.”

Now the query stays on who may very well be succeeding Michele, who engineered the brand’s turnaround along with his unique style. Gucci, within the statement issued late Wednesday evening, said the corporate’s design office “will proceed to hold the direction of the home forward until a recent creative organization will likely be announced.”

One source wondered if Remo Macco, a Gucci veteran who was recently appointed studio design director, may very well be within the wings. He has been tasked with offering more business products to balance Michele’s aesthetics.

“There was an increasingly strong divide between the show team and the merchandising and business studio,” said the source, adding that Macco has acted as “a filter between all the administrators of the various categories and Michele,” as Gucci has increased the variety of capsule collections and special editions.

One other potential candidate may very well be Davide Renne, also a Gucci veteran.

One other sign of a sharper concentrate on boosting the highest line and a change of direction could also be seen within the appointment last spring of former Roger Vivier brand manager Maria Cristina Lomanto. She was named  executive vp, brand general manager, a recent role for the Italian luxury company. Lomanto was tasked with specializing in coordinating collection and retail merchandising, visual merchandising, beauty and eyewear licensing and retail training, reporting to Bizzarri.

Zoning in on historic codes, iconic handbags and craftsmanship was also touted by Pinault, amplified and added to the combo for a “mix of heritage and innovation,” as the chief commented on the group’s third-quarter performance.

In 2021, Gucci revenues tallied 9.73 billion euros, just shy of its oft-stated goal of 10 billion euros.

An internal promotion path isn’t recent at parent company Kering, and it’s not the primary time Pinault has shaken up one in all Kering’s key brands. Michele himself, handpicked by Bizzarri, was promoted from his role of “associate” to then-creative director Frida Giannini, in January 2015.

He had joined the Gucci design studio in 2002 following a stint as senior accessories designer at Fendi. Giannini brought him to Gucci and he was named her “associate” in 2011. In 2014 he took on the extra responsibility of creative director of Richard Ginori, the porcelain brand acquired by Gucci in 2013.

Last November, in a surprise move, Pinault ousted Daniel Lee from Bottega Veneta, despite the designer’s strong performance on the brand and far critical success. Lee, who’s now creative director at Burberry, was succeeded at Bottega Veneta by Matthieu Blazy, previously the brand’s able to wear design director.

Blazy in two seasons has rapidly put his mark on the brand, taking it back to its artisanal roots.

As reported, sources say that Michele was asked “to initiate a robust design shift” to light the fireplace under Gucci, but this request was apparently not met by the designer, whose quirky aesthetic could be very specific. Michele has helped boost Gucci’s influence in fashion, and his gender-fluid and romantic spirit has left its mark on a slew of other designers, catering to a younger and more diverse customer, but, based on one source, “Pinault has been attempting to get better the uber luxury consumer.”

Michele has reinvented Gucci with a totally recent androgynous style that toppled Giannini’s sophisticated jet-set lifestyle image. Giannini’s tenure as creative director on the brand lasted 10 years, while her predecessor Tom Ford engineered the primary Gucci turnaround and stayed on for nearly eight years.

It’s unclear what the longer term holds for Michele, who has expressed his passion for cinematography – very similar to Ford – but one source speculated the designer “may very well be receiving a phone call from Pinault’s arch rival Bernard Arnault any time soon.”

On Wednesday morning, commenting on the potential change at Gucci, Luca Solca, senior research analyst global luxury goods at Bernstein, said this was “excellent news” and that, “so as to reaccelerate, Gucci doesn’t must move to the mainstream or to grow to be timeless. It must open a recent creative chapter. This, in all likelihood, might be only done with recent creative energy and talent.” Without mincing words, he noted, “the earlier Alessandro goes, the higher.”

Solca’s opinion is that “Gucci is affected by brand fatigue” as Michele “has been doing more of the identical for seven years. Consumers who bought loads early (the Chinese) got bored first. This isn’t surprising.” He credited Kering for its ability to reinvent its brands repeatedly, and concluded that Gucci “has enough scale to give you the option to make itself heard, the moment it has something recent to say, that’s.” He also noted that Kering is trading at a reduction to peers as a consequence of the slowdown at Gucci.

Alternatively, Jefferies equity analyst Flavio Cereda wrote last month that he did “not share the view that Gucci, as a really cyclical brand, is broken in its current guise and wishes a complete reset to reverse trends: we consider brand equity could be very strong, as are capabilities (on- and off-line), supply chain and track record.”

The news come ahead of Gucci’s return to Milan’s Men’s Fashion Week in January.

Kering last month, reported that its money cow brand continued to underperform versus the group’s other brands, although organic sales picked up pace within the third quarter. Revenues on the Italian label totaled 2.6 billion euros, up 9 percent on a like-for-like basis, following a 4 percent rise within the second quarter.

That was barely below a consensus of analyst estimates, which called for a ten percent increase in comparable sales on the maker of Dionysus handbags and horsebit loafers. By comparison, organic sales at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s key fashion and leather goods division rose 22 percent year-over-year within the third quarter.

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