“Today an extraordinary journey ends for me, lasting more than twenty years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion. During this long period Gucci has been my home, my adopted family,” said Michele in a statement on via Instagram. “…may you continue to cultivate your dreams, the subtle and intangible matter that makes life worth living. May you continue to nourish yourselves with poetic and inclusive imagery, remaining faithful to your values. May you always live by your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom”
Since joining the brand in 2002 as an accessories designer, Michele was almost entirely unknown outside the Kering-owned company when he was named creative director in 2015 and has since transformed the Italian fashion house into a pioneer of singular eccentricity, steering the global conversation of inclusivity, gender and identity.
Always a hotly anticipated moment on the fashion week schedule, Michele was notorious for putting together a spectacle and his last for the house will go down in history, having sent an army of twins down the runway to display Gucci’s SS23 collection. A sprinkle of madness has always reigned, SS18 saw models hold their own severed heads as the accessory of the season, for FW20 Michele transformed his runway show into a theatre production, and his latest campaign ‘Exquisite Gucci’ was an ode to awe-inspiring cinema. Having recently masterminded collaborations with the likes of Adidas, Palace and Harry Styles, Michele witnessed Gucci’s profile continue to rise in his seven years at the top.
In a statement, Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, thanked Michele for his dedication, “and for his vision, devotion, and unconditional love for this unique brand.” While Michele wished his Gucci “family” farewell; “May you continue to nourish yourselves with poetic and inclusive imagery, remaining faithful to your values. May you always live by your passions, propelled by the wind of freedom.” In the same week as Raf Simons closed his eponymous brand after seventeen years, this is another shock announcement making waves in the industry.