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Former Gucci designer Alessandro Michele named creative director at Valentino

Italian fashion designer Alessandro Michele with long hair and beard wearing sunglasses at the 11th Annual LACMA Art+Film Gala in Los Angeles, California on November 5, 2022.
Alessandro Michele heads to Valentino just over a year after exiting his role as creative director at Gucci.

Alessandro Michele, the former Gucci designer, has landed at Valentino as the Italian fashion house’s new creative director.

The announcement comes mere days after Valentino’s long-time designer Pierpaolo Piccioli departed the fashion house after 25 years, as speculation swirled about where Michele would go next.

“I feel immense joy and enormous responsibility in entering a Maison de Couture that has engraved the word ‘beauty’ in a collective story made of research and extreme grace,” Michele, who was at Gucci for two decades, said in a statement posted to Instagram.

During his stint as Gucci’s creative director from 2015 to 2022, Michele transformed the label into the glittering cool, androgynous reputation known and loved today by stars such as Harry Styles and Billie Eilish. According to Elle, the creative overhaul kicked sales into overdrive under Michele’s direction.

Michele spent two decades at Gucci, becoming creative director in his final seven, during which he transformed the Italian label. Getty Images
Michele spent two decades at Gucci, becoming creative director in his final seven, during which he transformed the Italian label. Getty Images

After exiting 14 months ago, he has found a new home at Valentino, where he starts April 2 with his first collection as creative director for the spring/summer 2025 season to be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week in September, per Vogue.

“My first thought goes to this story: to the richness of its cultural and symbolic heritage, to the sense of wonder that it has been able to constantly generate, to the very precious identity that its founding fathers, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti, gave it with wild love,” Michele said in his statement online.

“These are references that have always been an indisputable source of inspiration for me and to which I intend to pay tribute by re-reading them through my creative vision.”

Founded as a womenswear brand in 1960 by Garavani and Giammetti, Valentino is best known for its romantic motifs and has created culturally iconic pieces, eventually venturing into menswear nearly a decade after the label’s inception.

Michele’s appointment as creative director marks a “pivotal moment” for the fashion house. OceanProd – stock.adobe.com
Michele’s appointment as creative director marks a “pivotal moment” for the fashion house. OceanProd – stock.adobe.com

“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,” the label’s CEO Jacopo Venturini, who oversaw Michele’s appointment and also previously worked at Gucci, said in a statement per Vogue.

Describing Michele as “an extraordinary professional, able to combine pragmatism and strategic vision, competence and sensibility” and having “profound intelligence” and “wonderful lightness,” Venturini said he is “very happy and excited” to work with the designer again.

Rachid Mohamed Racid, the chairman of Valentino, said Michele’s appointment as creative director “marks another pivotal moment” for the fashion house.

According to Vogue, it comes as no surprise that the acclaimed designer would remain in his home city of Rome, a place he once described as bewitching and welcoming. His new office in Palazzo Mignanelli is just a 10-minute stroll from his hometown digs.

“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,” Michele said.

“Joy, though, is such a living thing that I’m afraid to hurt it if I dare to speak its name.”