5 facts you might not know about gucci's alessandro michele
When designer Alessandro Michele took the reins of billion-dollar Italian luxury brand Gucci four years ago, the fashion industry was taken by surprise. The behind-the-scenes talent who had been working at the label since 2002 wasn’t prepared for the news either, but his appointment marked a radical change for the fashion house. It made sense though, that the mysterious and unconventional 42-year-old would represent Gucci’s DNA at its best and bring a fresh wind to the then struggling heritage brand. Michele’s wild and uncanny aesthetic directly resonated with this generation of influencers and millennials, which helped to boost sales and become the must-have brand of the decade. While his name is now on every fashion afficionado’s lips, the man continues to stay delightfully enigmatic. Here we round up five facts you might not know about the designer yet.
HE BASED THE BRAND IN HIS NATIVE ROME
Gucci might be an international brand but its heart remains in Italy. While previous creative directors Tom Ford relocated to London and Frida Giannini moved the team back to the brand’s birthplace, Florence, Michele chose to establish himself in Rome where he grew up and studied. Picking the wonderful Palazzo Alberini for HQ, he leads his design team by constantly being inspired by the history of the city and only vanishes to Milan in preparation of the shows. While the Northern city has now also welcomed the Gucci Hub where the designer’s ethereal office is situated, Rome stays the place for him to let off steam after each collection.
HE FIRST STUDIED COSTUME DESIGN
It’s in Rome that Michele undertook his first studies at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda where he developed a passion for theatre and cinema. Although both arts seemed to be in his genes – his mum was the first assistant to a film executive at Rome’s Cinecittà – Michele quickly opted for a career in fashion. He then ended up working with Silvia Venturini Fendi aged 25, with whom he shared a certain eccentricity. The world of the theatre however never really left him as his shows always feature an eerie mise en scène, such as for the Cruise 2019 collection set in a French cemetery or his Spring/Summer 2019 stages literally in an abandoned Parisian theatre.
HE LOOKS TO THE PAST FOR CONSTANT INSPIRATION
When he was appointed the new creative director of Gucci, Michele told Vogue: “I’m not interested in the future – it doesn’t exist yet – but I’m really interested in the past and the contemporary.” A glance at his apartment might help to understand better the character; antique furniture, bibelots and of course vintage garments fill the space in a carefully curated chaos. This feeling of nostalgia translates into his collections featuring Romantic brocades, Renaissance-inspired fabrics and beautiful craftsmanship. And although his style might seem passé, he managed to build a modern and millennial-destined aesthetic for Gucci and elevate the heritage brand to the world’s biggest luxury label.
HE HAS A FAN CLUB OF CELEBRITIES
Michele’s friendship with actor Jared Leto might not be a secret to anyone as the latter constantly sports Gucci designs and sits front row at all the shows. But Lana del Ray is also one of her biggest admirer and she even accompanied the two BFFs at last year’s MET Gala. Even though Michele was a fan of Elton John in his teens, it’s only decades later that the pop star asked him to design his stage collection for his ‘Farewell’ tour. Furthermore, the one and only Björk commissioned Michele to create a dress for her music video ‘The Gate” which took about 800 hours to make. Not to mention singer Harry Styles starring in his most recent campaigns. Not bad for someone who used to be unknown only four years ago.
HIS LOVE LIFE EVOLVES OUTSIDE THE FASHION CIRCLE
Despite all the attention Michele receives from the media, he managed to keep his relationship with boyfriend Giovanni Attili afloat. A complete stranger to the fashion world, Attili is a professor of urban planning but he got to appreciate fashion too, and is now one of Michele’s best advisors. A rumour says they met on the Internet through MySpace, and even though their accounts have long been deleted, they’re both still very active on Instagram and comment on each other’s posts. If you look at Attili’s feed, you’ll find breath-taking landscape images, demonstrating real photography skills that might show he’s a creative after all. Michele and Attili have been together ten years – a true achievement for such a workaholic!