The fashion industry is still in shock after learning of Alessandro Michele's confirmed departure from Gucci after almost eight years. The designer, who succeeded Frida Giannini, showcased his first collection in January 2015 with a menswear collection, opening a new era for the Italian label. Since then, Michele has reinvented the house, rolling out collections that transformed fashion.
Having spent almost 20 years at the fashion brand after being hired by Tom Ford in the early aughts, Michele will undeniably be remembered as one of the most iconic designers of our time. With memes of the designer's departure flooding social media (cue Emily's The Devil Wears Prada scene), the internet is looking back at some of the best moments to be remembered from Gucci's Michele era.
Continue scrolling to see some of our favorite moments from the creative's time at the house.
The Start of an Era: Fall/Winter 2015 Menswear
Alessandro Michele made his debut as Gucci's creative director in January 2015 for the FW15 season. He brought androgynous looks to the runway, marking the beginning of what transformed the larger fashion industry and its move towards gender-fluid looks. The presentation opened with an outfit featuring a red pussy bow blouse with black trousers, styled with slides and the iconic double-G logo ebelt.
One of the star items from Michele's debut Gucci collection was most notably the Princetown slippers. While the footwear style has been a part of the house's most iconic since the '50s, the creative director added fur to the insoles of the slippers, making them the hottest shoe of the late 2010s.
Hyperrealistic severed heads and baby dragons were the star accessories of Michele's FW18 collection for Gucci. Models took the runway holding silicone heads that looked just like theirs. While the collection was one of Michele's most remembered, the presentation did face backlash for cultural appropriation in some of its looks -- such as an $800 USD turban and a balaclava-inspired accessory with red lips.
The 2019 camp-themed Met Gala screamed Alessandro Michele's Gucci. The designer dressed Harry Styles in an androgynous sheer black number accessorized with pearl earrings. Meanwhile, Jared Leto hit the red carpet wearing a bold red gown, which was paired with a silicone head that looked just like the actor, taken from the house's FW18 runway.
In addition to individual looks, Michele was loved for his imaginative vision, which was reflected through his runway shows. Breaking away from the traditional catwalk, the creative director built a rotating theater for FW20, where spectators had a full view of the show, including models getting their hair and makeup done.
The Gucci and Balenciaga "Hacker Project" marked a historical moment for the Kering group. The two brands, which had never collaborated before, came together to create co-branded items to celebrate the Italian label's 100th anniversary. Dubbed "Aria," the collection featured Balenciaga's logos laid atop Gucci's iconic GG monogram, while the same signature pattern took over the Hourglass bag.
The "Guccididas" collection was another major collaboration for Gucci, proving the significance of sports and streetwear in the luxury space. The German brand's Trefoil and Three Stripes detailing took over Gucci's accessories, apparel, footwear and more, while the Italian house's branding covered adidas' classic footwear silhouettes such as the Samba.
Harry Styles' fashion evolution was largely influenced by Michele and his work at Gucci. The two, who pushed androgynous style together for years, finally teamed up to create a collection dubbed "HA HA HA." A celebration of the duo's longstanding friendship, the range featured everything from garments to accessories, featuring design details such as illustrations with text that reads "I want more berries and that summer feeling," referencing Styles’ hit “Watermelon Sugar.”
Michele's final collection for Gucci was for the Spring/Summer 2023 season, featuring only twins on the runway recruited from an annual twin festival in Twinsburg, a suburban city in Ohio. The designer cited his two mothers as the key inspiration for the collection. "Two extraordinary women who made their twinship the ultimate seal of their existence. They lived in the same body. They dressed and combed their hair in the same way. They were magically mirrored. One multiplied the other. That was my world, perfectly double and doubled," he wrote in the show's notes.