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Alessandro Michele: A Legacy

After standing down as creative director of Gucci, Laura Hartig looks at the legacy left by Alessandro Michele.

By Laura Hartig, Third Year, English

The Croft Magazine // After standing down as creative director of Gucci, Laura Hartig looks at the legacy left by Alessandro Michele.

Alessandro Michele’s past seven years at the helm of Gucci’s creative direction were both radical and inspiring. After being promoted from head of accessories to creative director at Gucci in 2015, Michele has helped promote the luxury Italian fashion house to the forefront of the creative industry, certainly reinstating much of the glamour and theatricality the fashion world was missing.

Since 2017, Gucci has presented both men’s and women’s collections together. The universal collections produced by Gucci should be commended both for its efforts at inclusivity and the reduction of fabric waste. Michele’s creative direction towards collections governed by androgyny reflects the contemporary values of the evolving twenty-first century fashion industry. In 2017, Harry Styles was named as an ambassador for the brand, and in 2022, they released their first product collaboration. Styles is a natural fit for Michele’s brand vision: he’s eccentric and experimental in style, he doesn’t conform to gender fashion norms, and he has a massive base of adoring fans.

The collection entitled ‘HA HA HA’ symbolises, as Gucci names it, ‘Liberated Vanity’. Traditional Breton striped t-shirts are seen in garish black and yellow, whilst classical British tailored pieces are presented in various denims and checked fabrics; outfits not too dissimilar to that worn by Ryan Evans in the High School Musical trilogies. Yet, Michele’s pride in the heritage of Italian luxury brand remains fundamental, taking classic Gucci silhouettes like the Jackie bag, and covering it in silver hardware, reimagining it in a 21st century landscape.

One of Michele’s most memorable collections must be The Gucci Twinsburg Fashion Show presented at Milan Fashion Week for the brand’s SS23 show. Featuring 68 pairs of identical twins, Michele honoured his own upbringing, as his childhood was surrounded by his mother and her identical twin: Michele’s aunt. This collection challenged the fashion industries desire for a themed collection through the electiveness of his designs. Only the pairs of twins walking down the black and white framed runway, looked alike.

Never one to shy away from the exciting, Alessandro Michele’s November 2021, Love Parade collection, presented along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, was anything but boring. The apt location of the runway speaks to the clothes walking it, as Michele’s vision is one of Old Hollywood Glamour contrasted with oversized androgynous tailoring loved by his contemporaries. Striking platform heels paired with geometric pattern tights walk over the names of Hollywood’s icons, their names set in the infamous pink stars. Whilst the hourglass silhouette remains prominent throughout all looks, whether constructed through a satin fishtail gown adorned with latex gloves and a cream feather bower or by an oversized chequered two-piece suit, complete with suede cowboy hat.

Alessandro Michele’s legacy at Gucci is unquestionable, as his creative direction helped propel the Italian Luxury brand into the 21st century. His maximalist aesthetic to fashion encompassed all genres, time periods, and referenced every fabric known to man. His departure from Gucci (a brand he dedicated the past 20 years of his life to), marks a new chapter for the label, and I am excited to see which direction the brand is taken next.

Featured Image: By Waterlan Papetti

What do you think we should next expect from Gucci?