The 50th birthday of Alessandro Michele, the designer who transformed Gucci with the power of a dream

Alessandro Michele has managed to reach everyone, well outside the circles of fashion, with a simple and disruptive message: true beauty is the freedom to be yourself.

In the world of fashion, the comings and goings of designers from big brands are almost the order of the day. Yet the news of Alessandro Michele’s farewell to Gucci also had an impact outside the fashion world. Because? Upon his appointment as creative director, Alexander Michael it was a practically unknown name. Seven years later, he’s a living legend. In little more than five years he has made a revolution: he has transformed a historic brand into an object of desire, rewritten the idea of ​​masculinity, explored the Metaverse. Today Alessandro Michele performs 50 years old and he does so with a new page to write in front of him.

The fairy tale of the suburbs by Alessandro Michele

The story of Alessandro Michele, somehow, can be told like a fairy tale of redemption. Or like a film script, given that cinema is part of his DNA. In fact, his mother works in the film industry, his father for Alitalia. Alessandro was born in 1972, in a Roman neighborhood where he grew up with the awareness of being different from the others. The memories of those years – the little shoes with eyelets, the colorful aprons, flared trousers and bright patterns – are imprinted in his memories like a tattoo and will become the fulcrum of his aesthetic.

But let’s go back to our fairy tale and the child who felt he didn’t belong to any group. Diversity is a gift and Alessandro Michele decides to use it, taking refuge in the lush world of his imagination. He dreams of becoming a set designer and starts studying at theCostume and Fashion Academy. At the end of the century he starts working for Les Copains, then for Fendi until in 2002 he is noticed by Tom Fordwho at the time was the creative director of Gucci, the man who relaunched a brand in crisis by giving it a sexy aesthetic bordering on the unscrupulous.

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Harry Styles and Alessandro Michele

Harry Styles and Alessandro Michele

The debut at Gucci and the revolutionary fashion shows

Alessandro Michele joins Gucci in the accessories department and works there for an entire decade, making a career discreetly and steadily. In 2015 the fashion house chooses him to replace Frida Giannini: news that shakes everyone. Who is this Alessandro Michele? Where has he been for 42 years? But nothing compared to the shock of the first collections. The first fashion show is an earthquake. Michele mixes genres and decades, colors and inspirations. He is a fashion archaeologist, a storyteller. His clothes they do not know genres or labels. It dresses men and women in the same way, in bright colors, loaded with accessories: from Renaissance ruffs to whipseverything finds its place in the room of wonders that is Alessandro Michele’s fashion.

Petra Collins, Dakota Johnson, Alessandro Michele and Hari Nef

Petra Collins, Dakota Johnson, Alessandro Michele and Hari Nef

Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic, unique and perfectly recognizable, is perfect for seducing Instagram. Fluid, androgynous, eccentric, politically engaged. His fashion shows are pure performances: do you remember the severed heads arm in arm with the models? Or the parade Cosmogonies in Castel Del Monte? He himself is an icon: he shows up at the Met Gala with his twin brother Jared Leto or walks the red carpet with an avatar.

Jared Leto and Alessandro Michele in Gucci

Jared Leto and Alessandro Michele in Gucci

Alessandro Michele and the hymn to be yourself

Meanwhile, collection after collection, his court grew: the list of celebrity-ambassadors starts from Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto to continue with Florence Welch, Dakota JohnsonJessica Chastain, up to Harry Styles and ai Maneskins. The reign of Alessandro Michele at Gucci has contaminated music, but also gaming and obviously cinema, his first love: the advertising campaign inspired by Kubrik is already an anthology.

The Maneskins at Gucci

The Maneskins at Gucci

While the world calls rights and conquests into question, Michele sends them on the catwalk sex toys, dresses with embroidered wombs and jackets with slogans on the back. In his stylistic discrepancies Alessandro Michele has always followed the polar star of freedom of expression. If through Gucci he managed to reach everyone, stars and teenagers, it is because each of his garments expressed the same message: an irreducible hymn to beauty of being yourselfin the most authentic and joyful way possible.

Gucci Spring/Summer 2023

Gucci Spring/Summer 2023

The news of the farewell to Gucci took everyone by surprise: there are those who talk about brand fatigue and the constant desire for novelty in fashion and who suspects strategic differences between the designer and the Kering house. In any case, we can end our fairy tale with Alessandro Michele looking at the blank page in front of him, ready to draw a new sparkling chapter.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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