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Alessandro Michele [fashion portrait]

Gucci's visionary soul

From Rome, the Montesacro neighbourhood, year of birth 1972. Father was an Alitalia technician, mother worked in film. Completed his studies at the Academy of Costume and Fashion and then did all types of work, first a newsagent and then manual labourer: “I accepted [a job] demolishing the walls of flats set for renovation. It was therapeutic, like a session with a psychiatrist” (in D Repubblica, 23/9/2015).

He entered the fashion system in Bologna with Les Copains handling knitwear, and then worked in Rome for Fendi as a senior accessory designer. There he met Karl Lagerfeld: “From him I learned that creativity is not a stable thing. That you must learn to give it freedom”. He went to Gucci in 2002, sought out by Tom Ford. Starting in 2011 he became the right hand man of Frida Giannini, and since January 2015 he has been the Creative Director: “I found myself with five days to put together a collection. I shut myself in my house in Civita di Bagnoregio, a refuge in the emptiness of the surrounding valleys. The days in Civita are surreal for me. They could be a year or an hour” (ibidem).

— “Fashion is the simplest way for us to reconnect ourselves with beauty” (Alessandro Michele)

Eleven months later in London, the British Fashion Council gave him the International Design Award: “The most exciting thing in the fashion system 2015” (fashionista.com). “He lifted up a brand from the dust of ‘nice’ to the honour of ‘I want it’. In just six months. And his off-key fashion is now the law and trend” (ibidem). An antique and decor enthusiast, he collects oil portraits. Involved with Vanni Attili, his fingers are full of rings and he loves to work in a mess, with the music loud. “My idea of fashion is that it must contend with imperfection”.

Alessandro Di Giacomo
July 2017