Alessandro Michele confirmed as Gucci's new creative director

Luxury giant Kering has confirmed the appointment of the Italian brand's new creative director, 42-year-old designer Alessandro Michele.

Ever since Frida Giannini announced her departure in December, and then abruptly disappeared from the brand ahead of schedule earlier this month, the fashion world has been waiting with bated breath for the news of the Gucci creative director's successor.

On Wednesday Gucci and Kering announced the appointment of Alessandro Michele, confirming days of speculation in the press that the man who led the internal design teams in the absence of Giannini for the recent menswear Fall/Winter 2015 collection would be handed the reins on a permanent basis.

A graduate of the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome, Michele has risen through the ranks at the brand, having joined Gucci in 2002, after a stint at Fendi as Senior Accessories Designer. In September last year he was also given the role of creative director of Richard Ginori, the Italian fine porcelain brand that Gucci acquired in June 2013.

Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, described the selection process, which was rumored to also include Joseph Altuzarra and Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, as "considered and thorough." He also referred to the well-received men's show as "a clear indication that the brand is ready to take a new direction."

Michele's first collection will be the women's ready-to-wear for Fall/Winter 2015, set to be unveiled in just over a month's time on February 25 in Milan.