Fashion's enfant terrible leaves.
Alessandro Michele left Nave Gucci on November 23, and chose to say goodbye through a visual performance, in full harmony with his character.
Everything is in an eloquent image, a photo published the day after his departure, at 8 p.m., on his Instagram account.
It is a portrait full of grain that recalls the aesthetics of the Actor's Studio – with a nod to the Stanislavski method, theatrical and incisive.
The fashion designer appears immersed in the light, on a black background of a stage, bowing to an audience that we guess without seeing.
The face is folded in on itself, like an annunciation by Fra Angelico.
Jesus Christ Superstar
are strewn across his chunky orange sweater.
The talent of the Roman fashion designer to intertwine the threads of life with those of art - Commedia dell'arte, Arte Povera - and with the pitiless mysteries of the society of the spectacle, makes the image heavy with meaning and emotion. .
In a very literary text that accompanies it, looking back on his long career, Alessandro Michele writes: “There are times when paths diverge due to the different perspectives that each of us may have.
Today, an extraordinary journey ends for me;
it lasted more than twenty years, within a company to which I tirelessly devoted all my love and my creative passion.»
A few hours later, nearly 500,000 likes in the shape of hearts, resounding like a giant applause, come to salute the stature of the man.
In the form of short texts, nearly 15,000 comments follow like haikus framing the image.
"Alessandro sei Grande" ("Alessandro, you are great", Editor's note), writes Donatella Versace.
“Thank you for your creations and for sharing your dreams with us,” comments Naomi Campbell, continuing: “Thank you also for welcoming young African designers from emerging markets.
I wish you the best for the next chapter.”
Nobody knows for the moment the next step of Alessandro Michele.
In video, designer Alessandro Michele announces his departure from Gucci
A lover of musicians
But his mark will forever mark the relationship between fashion and the world of music.
Before him, no fashion designer had ever maintained such a close relationship with the performing arts.
For years, Alessandro Michele has forged unique and privileged relationships with musical stars from all over the world from all genres – pop, soul, rock, rap, blues and electro artists who love his subversive and flamboyant approach.
If Virgil Abloh had succeeded in weaving an intimate dialogue between street culture, the aesthetics of rap and hip-hop and Vuitton creations, Alessandro Michele went even further.
He shines among music stars like a sun king and has imbued his creations with their lights.
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A year after his arrival at Gucci, he befriended and began an artistic collaboration with an absolute icon of pop and rock, Sir Elton John, for whom he designed all the stage costumes.
"Alessandro and I are like twin brothers," says the singer with the oversized glasses, who met the stylist through a "mutual friend", Jared Leto.
“I am much older, but I found someone who is exactly like me: Alessandro loves beauty and collects art objects.
Her clothes fill my life with happiness.
I've always been fearless, and that's why I love Alessandro;
he doesn't care what people think.
Dressed in a diamond-embroidered tailcoat created by Alessandro Michele for his
Farewell Yellow Brick Road
tour , Elton John shared his aura with the stylist, his shine reflecting off the two crossed Gs of the Gucci logo.
Michele grew up listening to the music of Elton John and admiring his daring costumes: "At Gucci, Elton was on the moodboards for a long time," Alessandro Michele told us.
When you work in fashion, there's always a picture of him or David Bowie in the 1970s: they're the hottest guys on the planet.
It changed my work a lot, because I'm a big fan of that era."
Mystical and avant-garde
During the seven years of artistic direction with my Gucci house, Alessandro Michele, an enlightened music lover, has linked collaborations with stars of all music and all eras - from pop icon Harry Styles to rapper Asap Rocky, passing by Lana del Rey and the Italian stars of the group Måneskin.
By associating his name with them, he inevitably threw Gucci into their furrows and made it shine with their sparks: "With his winged chariot, Alessandro advances on the milky way of art", confides the Californian singer Billie Eilish ( 20 years old, 7 Grammy Awards), the first to react to her post on Instagram with three blood red hearts.
“He is fascinating.
I like her universe, her fingers covered with old rings which, all,
have a mystical and spiritual significance” - continues the singer for whom Alessandro Michele created hypnotic stage looks (as well as the outfits she wore to the Grammys) - “I love her eccentric, unique, out-of-the-ordinary looks: Alessandro catapulted models with strange, irregular and so beautiful faces onto the catwalk.
He had the courage to put transgender models in the fashion spotlight.
He told me that when he was 10, he wanted to be blond and dyed his hair… When he arrived at Gucci, my generation didn't know much about the brand.
I remember thinking: Almighty God, he is so out of this world!
It's as if it came from Mars or some distant planet.
I was told that Gucci was long dead, after Tom Ford,
and suddenly this man... We share a lot of things, maybe more than we talk about, secret things, and it's beautiful.
For us musicians, Alessandro Michele is like a beacon.
He has radar.
We will follow him everywhere”, concludes the musician based in Los Angeles.
In video, the trailer for "Billie Eilish, the world's a little blurry"
“A notorious hypersensitive”
Like her, the English singer with long, incendiary red hair, Florence Welch (known as Florence + the Machine), former Chanel muse close to Karl Lagerfeld, is a soul mate of the Italian designer, who creates her stage outfits memorable and never misses his concerts: "I share with him a taste for the Gothic style and the art of the Renaissance", she confides.
I will always be loyal to Alessandro because, like Karl (Lagerfeld), he is an extremely cultured, open and curious creator.
Alessandro is a notorious hypersensitive.
All the musicians support him because he creates empathetic relationships with the artists.
He understands us, he enters our world with extreme ease and delicacy.
He navigates in very different universes and draws his inspiration from divergent cultures.”
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According to Florence Welch, whether it's Iggy Pop and punk, Tyler the Creator and rap, Harry Styles and pop, or the new soul represented by the young Franco-American singer Crystal Murray (founder of the Gucci Gang), “Alessandro Michele knows how to surf extraordinary glamour.
Through his collections, it's a bit like presenting concerts full of emotion.
Alessandro restored Gucci to its letters of nobility, its panache.
He makes everything he touches modern and communicative.
I know how to recognize great artists.
It is one and I know it will go further and further.
His vision goes far beyond the world of fashion.
A vision in tune with society
Nicknamed the Iguana, Iggy Pop, the godfather of punk, has collaborated with the former artistic director of Gucci many times, notably in a filmed campaign, in which he sings alongside the formidable American rapper Tyler the Creator: "Unlike many of fashion stylists, Michele does not try to freeze a famous singer in photos, to make him the face of a brand simply to sell more clothes for an attractive contract, explains the musician.
It encourages encounters, lets artists do their job and is genuinely interested in their trajectories, as well as the way in which they reveal and shape society.
I liked the way he wanted to bring together two generations, that of Tyler the Creator and mine.
which I support.
Believe me, if you're black, in America it's very hard to keep your sanity intact.
Racism here is a constant.
There is an America that would like us to reintroduce laws prohibiting homosexuality, which deny the right to abortion and threaten our democracy.
With his airs of a mountebank, Michele does not pose in a political way, but he makes people think, even through an outfit on stage.
That's exactly what we do as musicians."
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Like a polyphonic choir, myriads of singers have thus tuned their registers of voice to the frequencies of Alessandro Michele.
In the multidisciplinary space and Florentine café called
, launched and designed by him, the former director of the Gucci house often organized musical events and meetings with artists such as the 22-year-old English singer, Arlo Parks, one of the figureheads of the new English scene indie pop and electro jazz: "I love working with him," she explains.
He is charismatic and manages to make creations in an instant.
It allowed me to collaborate with the director Gus Van Sant in a video full of poetry, a reflection on life and on the planet, which can also be viewed on the Internet.
Alessandro is aware of the challenges of our society, of ecology… Concerns that occupy a lot of space in my musical creation.”
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Ambassador of the Gucci house, Clara Luciani says she loves Alessandro Michele for “his ability to combine historical references, retro and contemporary.
It is fascinating with its Christlike allure”.
"I've been following Alessandro Michele on Instagram since he joined Gucci," she told us.
He knows how to appropriate vintage cuts and fabrics that I love and transcribe them in our time.
It's the same approach that Lana del Rey has in music.
And then, I admire and support his fashion campaigns that advocate diversity, which he allows and encourages.
Harry Styles' accomplice
Often dressed in a dress, we saw him pose alongside the king of pop, the very androgynous Harry Styles, wearing a black tunic in transparent satin, designed by Alessandro Michele or very seventies costumes.
Longtime friends the English singer and Alessandro Michele collaborated on the Gucci
HA HA HA collection
- the chaining of the initials of 'Harry' and 'Alessandro', but also the onomatopoeic sound of an emoji, 'the laughing face', they said.
“Harry has an amazing sense of fashion,” says Michele.
"The idea of working together came to me one day while we were talking on the phone: I offered to create a 'dream wardrobe' with him... We ended up with a mixture of aesthetics, ranging from 1970s pop and bohemian to a reinterpretation of the image of the gentleman in a disrupted memory of male tailoring.”
Double-breasted coats in Prince of Wales checks, mother-of-pearl shirt buttons, kilts, striped pajamas, brightly colored velvet suits… Alessandro Michele's romanticism and eccentricity appealed to Harry Styles.
The latter became his friend for ten years, as he embarked on what was to become a sparkling solo career.
Since then, Harry Styles has performed in front of the cheering crowd at Wembley Stadium, dressed by Alessandro Michele.
The Italian designer Michele has attracted the attention of many other musical celebrities, such as the elegant bluesman Curtis Harding or the singer Lou Doillon whom he invited together to participate in GucciGig, a digital project in which they delivered their experiences together through Instagram.
The photographs and videos of the project were signed by punk photographer Jamie Wdziekonski and minimalist painter John Zabawa.
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Passionate about art and decoration, history, philosophy and pop culture, Alessandro Michele is at the origin of numerous collaborative projects aimed at promoting artistic creativity.
Over the seasons, this fashion guru has called on such diverse artists - painters, illustrators, performers.
With his departure, a page in the history of fashion is turned, but it is difficult not to imagine a future for the designer where the pink of the Roman palaces that surround him would not clash with the incisive colors of all these wonderful musical artists.