Gucci is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous luxury brands. However, in early 2015, we saw the Fashion House suffering from poor sales, so much so that they had to replace Gucci’s former creative director, Frida Giannini, when her creative leadership failed to produce any sales growth for the Kering Group, who owns the label.
After Giannini exited from Gucci, the then newly appointed President and CEO of the company, Marco Bizzarri, had to find someone who could turn things around. Bizzarri was no stranger to the luxury fashion scene. When Bizzarri was the CEO at Bottega Veneta, the sales revenue doubled in the five years when he held the capacity of CEO. He boosted sales for the label by opening up more stores and investing in existing ones.
For Bizzarri, the toughest part of being Gucci’s CEO was the fact that Gucci had no direction. The brand had lost its appeal and was in dire need of a Creative Director who could revive and invigorate the brand. Bizzarri decided to promote Giannini’s longtime associate and accessories designer Alessandro Michele to Creative Director.
Michele has been working in the background at Gucci since the Tom Ford era, having joined the company in 2002. He has experienced its glory years when loud decadence promulgated by Ford not only generated billions of dollars for Kering Group, the brand became a cultural touchstone. No one but Michele knew the Gucci’s archives better, having also to witness Gucci’s decline since Tom Ford’s exit in 2004.
In September 2015, Alessandro Michele’s first fall-winter collection was shown at a disused railway depot. The show venue had been moved from the swanky lavish theatre setting in central Milan, which was favoured by both Giannini and Ford, to the raw and edgy disused railway depot. After the show and away from the catwalks, on Milan’s swanky via Montenapoleone, where the real shopping happened, Gucci was mobbed. The show was lauded a huge success and Gucci saw its sales finally growing for the first time in almost two years in the second quarter.
Michele’s revival of Gucci has been nothing but fascinating. Helming the creative role, his stewardship has been a wonderful flurry of romance and eccentricity. He used strong and vivid colours with a fresh and quirky style.
Michele’s outlandish style intertwined with the 70s retro tones, was nothing too opulent or ostentatious. His collection included playful berets, nerdy glasses, pleated skirts, silky blouses with bows tied at the neck. His formulation of rich floral prints and contemporary style was nothing but iconic. The fashion world was smitten by his work.
Michele has been at the top of his game since he took over the creative stewardship at Gucci a year ago. His exceptional skill of being a showstopper is irrefutable. For Gucci’s 2017 Fall-Winter collection, Michele used eye-catching prints and a spectacular array of bold colours, to capture the attention of fashion critics.
The 2017 Fall-Winter collection is soft, feminine and vintage. Michele used the puffy 1980s shoulders with the bodices from 16th-century portraits. His coveted range of extravagant and whimsical accessories, weaves seamlessly with his collection of womenswear. Michele has the world crying out for more.
Although many in the industry considers Gucci’s turnaround at maximum speed to be too fast, too furious and too radical, fashion brands now will have to react swiftly to changing trends especially when fashion news culture is available instantly. The wind of change is blowing briskly and if Fashion Houses do not ride on the positive change, they might find themselves superfluous and redundant.