Alessandro Michele Is Going to Valentino

<p>Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images</p>

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Following Pierpaolo Piccioli's surprise departure from Valentino, the Italian fashion house seems to have decided on a new direction — one involving another renowned, expressive Italian designer who's been mostly out of the spotlight since his last gig.

Alessandro Michele has been named Piccioli's successor, Vogue Business reported on Thursday. Since leaving Gucci in late 2022, he's been a low-key free agent; there were rumors he would be going to Fendi or perhaps even Bulgari, but no announcement ever materialized. (Lauren Sherman has been reporting on his meetings/alleged courting by LVMH for quite some time for Line Sheet.) His first day at Valentino is April 2.

"I feel the immense joy and the huge responsibility to join a Maison de Couture that has the word 'beauty' carved on a collective story made of distinctive elegance, refinement and extreme grace," Michele said, in a statement to Vogue. "I search for words to nominate the joy, to regard it, to really convey what I feel; the smiles that kick from the chest, the bliss of gratitude that lights up the eyes, that precious moment when necessity and beauty reach out and meet. Joy, though, is such a living thing that I'm afraid to hurt it if I dare to speak its name."

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Like Piccioli at Valentino, Michele spent most of his career at Gucci — two decades, seven as creative director. (Another interesting wrinkle in the story: Michele's replacement at Gucci, Sabato de Sarno, was Piccioli's right hand at Valentino. Also, Kering acquired a 30% stake in Valentino last summer, meaning that Michele's now somewhat back with his former employer.) He's already based in Rome, like Valentino, which would make the transition even easier. (Late last year, Gucci moved its design offices from the Italian capital to Milan, controversially.)

Michele's also already quite familiar with Jacopo Venturini, Valentino's CEO since 2020 — previously Gucci's vice president of merchandising during the Michele era.

"I am very happy and excited to return to work with Alessandro," the executive said in a statement to Vogue. "I am certain that the reinterpretation of the Maison's couture codes and the heritage created by Mr. Valentino Garavani, combined with Alessandro’s extraordinary vision, will bring us moments of great emotion and will translate into irresistibly desirable objects."

Michele's first collection for Valentino is expected to debut in the fall, for Spring 2025. (The house canceled both its menswear and haute couture shows, originally slated for June, shortly after Piccioli's departure.) Now the question is... which of his Gucci muses will he bring over to Valentino? Harry Styles is waiting by the phone.

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