Alessandro Michele, former head of accessories at Gucci, has been promoted as the new creative director of the luxury brand. The French luxury group Kering announced on Wednesday that Michele will replace Frida Giannini, who was asked to leave at the end of 2014.
According to the New York Times, the Kering group appointed Alessandro because they felt that Gucci sales would be driven by the Italian fashion house’s brand and accessories rather than through a star designer. Shoes and handbags represent the fastest-growing categories in luxury goods, which Alessandro previously designed. Michele, though virtually unknown outside of Gucci, was chosen “based upon the contemporary vision he has articulated for the brand.”
— gucci (@gucci) January 21, 2015
Alessandro will lead one of the most popular brands in the world’s third largest luxury group. Other Kering brands include Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent. Michele will have total creative control over the brand, and he hopes to put an end to the sales slump at the group.
A luxury analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in London, Luca Solca, says that Michele and Gucci need to refresh the house’s identity if Alessandro is going to compete with more affordable brands such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch.
“What Gucci needs is to inject the brand with new ideas and create a new buzz around it. Handbags and leather goods are going to be very important to bring novelty to the market and to give consumers new reasons to come back to Gucci stores.”
During the recession, accessories and smaller leather items do better than more expensive items because they seem relatively affordable, which is why Gucci and Alessandro face more competition, according to Solca.
“I think [leather goods] is the area that is becoming far more crowded with new entrants and putting brands like Gucci on their toes.”
— VOGUE.CO.UK (@BritishVogue) January 21, 2015
The Associated Press reports that Michele clinched his spot as the new creative director through designing a menswear collection this week. Alessandro’s menswear is an indication of a new direction for Gucci.
Michele’s first full collection will be shown on February 25. Alessandro will design women’s ready-to-wear for fall and winter. Michele began working at the brand in 2002, and he was eventually promoted to the position of associate to the creative director in May of 2011. Gucci was a notable brand in the Inquisitr‘s rundown of best and worst dressed at the Met Gala in 2014.
[Photo Source: The UK Times]