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‘He has made his house human again...’
Anna Wintour

• It has been 20 years since Gucci’s current creative director, Alessandro Michele, joined the Italian fashion house. Tom Ford, the then creative director, brought him in to design handbags. Michele had been designing leather goods for Fendi as senior accessories designer and working alongside Frida Giannini. It was 2002.

• Michele was born in Rome in 1972, was raised in Italy, and studied costume design at Rome’s Academy of Costume and Fashion (Accademia Costume e Moda).

• Two significant dates for Michele and Gucci are: 2011, when he became associate designer to Frida Giannini (they had both been tapped by Ford to join the company in the early 2000s); and 2015, when Michele was appointed creative director in January of that year.

• Early triumph: Michele redesigned the fall menswear 2015 collection in five days, and to much applause.

• Michele’s personality? Difficult to encapsulate in a few words, but perhaps this is the moment to quote Anna Wintour, who spoke for the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) in 2016 when Michele received the International Award only a year into his tenure. Wintour said: “It is his devotion to change that excites us more… His quirky and totally original point of view erased everything that had come before… He has made his house human again… it is daring and idiosyncratic but poetic and romantic, too.”

• Michele’s personal style? Heavily accessorised, exuberant, joyous.

• The accolades are many. He received a British Fashion Council International Fashion Designer of the Year Award in 2015. And the following year he received GQ’s Men of the Year Award for Best Designer. While in 2017 he was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People. Jared Leto, wrote the appraisal for his friend “Lallo” referring to Michele as making a “statement so strong that it set the sartorial world alight and ushered in a new renaissance for the infamous House of Gucci”.

• Maximalism = Michele. In a recent interview with Leah Faye Cooper for Vanity Fair, Michele said: “I’m obsessed with objects. I like the concept of beautiful things. I love things that belong to other people. I love vintage. I love pieces of fabric. I love glasses. I mean, it’s a way to enjoy the idea that you are living.” His dress, his homes, his designs exude “the idea that you are living”.

• Gucci’s first fine jewellery collection – Hortus Deliciarum – was designed by Michele and launched in 2019: nature was at the fore. French Vogue introduced it as: “Featuring themes dear to Alessandro Michele, such as love, the animal kingdom, and luxury… The collection echoes the Italian designer's vibrant and poetic mind, a driving force behind his creative genius.”

• You are either a cat person or a dog person. The House of Gucci may well be focused on the Year of the Tiger, which starts on February 1, but there are other animals extremely important in Michele’s life: Orso, Bosco and Victor – his two Boston terriers and Chihuahua. For Michele and his long-time partner Giovanni Attili, a professor of urban planning, they are family.

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