The fashion hippie is back: Alessandro Michele named creative director at Valentino

The fashion hippie is back: Alessandro Michele named creative director at Valentino

The fashion hippie is back: Alessandro Michele named creative director at Valentino
The fashion hippie is back: Alessandro Michele named creative director at Valentino – © Valentino

With the sudden departure of Pierpaolo Piccioli announced a few days ago, a fashion page has been turned at Valentino. Today, a new twist: the label puts an end to the rumors by confirming the appointment of the 51-year-old Italian designer as artistic director. Should we expect the return of his tender, fluid and eccentric style?

The news arrived like fireworks at the start of spring: Italian Alessandro Michele has just been appointed creative director at Valentino and will take up his position on April 2. It's a relative surprise in the fashion world, as rumors have been growing announcing his arrival within the Roman label since Friday March 22, the day when Pierpaolo Piccioli and Valentino announced the end of their collaboration, which had lasted since twenty five years. “Today, I am looking for words to name joy, to look at it, to truly convey what I feel: the smiles that spring from the heart, the happiness of gratitude that lights up the eyes, this precious moment when necessity and beauty meets and comes together, said Alessandro Michele in an official statement. Joy, however, is such a living thing that I fear hurting it if I dare to speak its name. May my greeting, with open arms, speak for itself and greet at the beginning of spring the regeneration of life and the promise of new blossoming. »

Read also : Alessandro Michele: the king’s farewell at Gucci

Away from the fashion scene for several months

This demonstration of enthusiasm comes after a withdrawal from the fashion scene which lasted almost fifteen months for Alessandro Michele. Before this spectacular nomination, his media presence was punctuated only by his photographic publications in magazines or on the Internet where he created his Diary. These images often act as “postcards” necessarily announcing a comeback. And maintaining a form of presence in absence. He left Gucci in November 2022 after twenty years of flamboyant service, including more than seven as artistic director. According to analysts and investors, a departure driven by somewhat stagnant turnover, a form of running out of steam and the need for the brand (owned by the Kering group) to renew itself creatively. If he set out to redefine the style of Gucci, will he do the same at Valentino? Everything is possible. Trained at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda, perfectionist, organized, the designer is as renowned for his artistic qualities as for his ability to explode sales figures. Like Hedi Slimane, he is a kind of guru and mystery, feared but respected. A designer with the appearance of a young man, in his early fifties.

His entire career is intrinsically linked to Italian fashion. He lives and works in Rome. He started at Fendi at the end of the 1990s, the time to develop the famous Baguette bag. Then he joined the Gucci studio in 2002, to be Frida Giannini's right-hand man, from whom he took over in January 2015. Pulled out of the hat by Marco Bizarri (then CEO of the brand), he presented his first men's collection “made in five days » – and re-enchants the flagship of the Kering group and imposes its style, extravagant, baroque, colorful, immediately seen dubbed by the whole world. From Harry Styles to Jared Leto (who had fun on the red carpet playing his false twin), via Lou Doillon, Jennifer Welch or the Italian group Maneskin, Alessandro Michele dresses the cool, more or less genderfluid elite. The hordes of fans on the verge of apoplexy when he left Gucci last year show that he is also widely popular outside the narrow circles of the fashion intelligentsia. It is to this young audience that he likes to speak, often using clichés.

Fantasy and oddity, soon to return?

The designer's return delights his fans and a majority of players in the fashion world, looking for real excitement in a sector weighed down by commercialism and where, perhaps, there is a form of creative running out of steam. It also makes Jacopo Venturini, the CEO of Valentino, proud. The two men know each other well, having worked together at Gucci. “I am very happy and excited to work with Alessandro Michele again after years of collaboration. His talent, his creativity and his deep intelligence, always linked to a wonderful lightness, will write another chapter for the House of Valentino. I am certain that the reinterpretation of the Maison's couture codes and the heritage created by Mr. Valentino Garavani, combined with the extraordinary vision of Alessandro, will bring us moments of great emotion and will result in irresistibly desirable. »
Highly anticipated, Alessandro Michele's first collection at Valentino will be presented in Paris in September. The new era Valentino risks occupying an unprecedented place on the market, in the territory of Dior, as well as that of Chanel, which are thriving today. Will it bring the same dose of fantasy and weirdness back into our lives? One thing is certain, his arrival should shake things up.

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