Alessandro Michele is leaving Gucci after seven-plus blockbuster years

Alessandro Michele, who defined an era of menswear at the helm of Gucci, is out.

“There are times when paths diverge because of the different perspectives each of us may have,” the designer said in a statement released by Gucci’s parent company Kering. “Today ends an extraordinary journey for me, which lasts more than twenty years, in a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion.”

Michele took the creative reins of Italy’s biggest fashion label in 2015 and awakened the sleeping giant with a debut men’s collection that felt like a revelation. Silky bow blouses, loafers trimmed with plush fur and groovy patterned suiting would form the basis of Michele’s sensitive and fluid Gucci. (Speaking to the clarity of his creative vision and his skills in the design studio, the first collection came together in just five days, following the departure of Michele’s predecessor.)

Michele’s Gucci was an immediate commercial success, with sales tripling in the years following its debut. “The path that Gucci and Alessandro have taken together over the past years is unique and will remain as a unique moment in the house’s history,” said François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering. “I am grateful to Alessandro for bringing so much of himself to this adventure. His passion, his imagination, his ingenuity and his culture put Gucci at the center where it belongs. I wish him a good next chapter in his creative journey .”

Michele’s maximalist instincts and gender-bending silhouettes—Harry Styles, one of Michele’s friends and fans, famously wore a custom Gucci dress on the cover of Vogue—resonated throughout the fashion industry. The Michele era kick-started fashion’s genderless revolutionand his work with celebrities like Styles (with whom Michele recently collaborated on a capsule collection), A$AP Rocky and Jared Leto further collapsed the distance between luxury fashion and popular culture.

After nearly eight years, the rest of the industry had caught up with Michele’s influence, and fashion insiders had begun to speculate how Gucci would find new energy without discarding Michele’s bankable (but perhaps plateauing) aesthetic. Gucci reportedly missed its sales estimate for the third quarter of this year. Until a new designer is announced, Gucci’s design studio will continue to work on collections.

Michele’s statement continued: “For this long period, Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the people who have looked after and supported it, I send my deepest thanks, my biggest and deepest embrace. Together with them I have wished, dreamed, imagined. Without them none of what I have built would have been possible. To them goes my most sincere wish: May you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible thing that makes life worth living. May you continue to feed yourselves with poetic and inclusive images and stay true to your values. May you always live by your passions, driven by the wind of freedom.”

What Gucci does next will be one of the most watched stories in the fashion industry. But what’s next will be just as exciting for Alessandro Michele, who during his time at Gucci helped change the arc of men’s fashion.

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