The news leaked on Tuesday evening, when WWD reported that close sources in Milan had confirmed a shock departure – Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director since 2015, was stepping down.
The official announcement came last night (November 23), and the designer known for his high-glamour geek style, loved by Harry Styles, Florence Welch, and Jared Leto, to name a few, took to his personal Instagram to confirm his departure and pay thanks to his creative team.
“During this long period Gucci has been my home, my adopted family,” he wrote. “To this extended family, to all the individuals, who have looked after and supported it, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt embrace.”
The stars he has inspired have poured out gratitude, congratulations, and commiserations in response.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell led the tributes. “Thank you @alessandro_michele for your creations and sharing your dreams with us, and thank you for embracing the young creatives from Africa and emerging markets. Wishing you tons of blessings on your next chapter,” she commented on Instagram.
Stylist Harry Lambert, who helped build the almost monogamous relationship between Styles and Gucci, also said “You are an icon! Thank you for creating so many iconic looks for us ❤️❤️” – no doubt referring to the Watermelon High singer.
Billie Eilish’s recent major red-carpet moment, two weeks ago at the LACMA Art + Film Gala, was thanks to Michele. She joined her boyfriend Jesse Rutherford wrapped in a Gucci monogram blanket, with matching pyjamas. She also wore a custom Gucci gown by the designer to attend 2022’s Met Gala. On his departure Instagram post, she sent three simple black heart emojis to show her thanks.
Joining her in emoji appreciation was Lindsay Lohan, who has returned to the public eye with her new Netflix film Falling For Christmas, commented three red hearts and three praying hands to show her affection.
Many of the world’s most famous models also reached out to mark their support. American model Amber Valetta said, “Thank you for the wonderful memorable creations. More to come I hope,” while British model Erin O’Connor called him a “Beautiful poet. Thank you for your vision. A true gentle man.”
Karen Elson, the fiery-haired English model, said: “Your endless creativity is a rare and beautiful thing, we wait with baited breath for whatever comes next for you,” while American model Kristen McMenamy wrote, “Alessandro. We are blessed by your presence in our lives. Wherever you turn. You are an eternal genius. Go follow your next dream!!!! BRAVO BABY!!!”
Fashion insiders who have long worked with Michele also left notes of gratitude. British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful posted a heart-warming photograph of the pair, and wrote: “@alessandro_michele I shall miss you. Looking forward to what you do next. While stylist Katie Grand said, “So much love and admiration to you. You came you conquered.”
Business of Fashion founder Imran Amed also posted a touching paragraph which reads: “Bravissimo Alessandro! It’s been a pleasure to witness your talent at a Gucci bloom, from the very beginning, and to know that you have stayed the same throughout your phenomenal success. You are a true class act, right til the very end, stepping back with grace, dignity and humanity. All the best to you on your next adventure!”
Fellow fashion designers also noted they were sad to see him go. Silvia Fendi, creative director of accessories, menswear, and children at Fendi, sent her “love and admiration dear Alessandro,” and Susie Cave, of The Vampire’s Wife, expressed her sorrow, writing, “Alessandro you are the greatest and most beautiful soul. I have no words other than that I LOVE YOU. I can’t write I’m crying and too sad.”
Even Instagram themselves had a little something to say. The official account commented on Michele’s exiting post, saying, “you magically paved the way for other creatives and will forever remain iconic to the masses.” There is no doubt he will.