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Alessandro Michele steps down as Gucci design head

Gucci has parted ways with Alessandro Michele, the Italian designer who had been at the creative helm of the luxury fashion house since 2015.

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“There are times when paths part ways because of the different perspectives each one of us may have. Today an extraordinary journey ends for me, lasting more than twenty years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion. During this long period Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the individuals who have looked after and supported it, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt embrace,” explained the creative director in a press release, sent out late Wednesday evening by the Kering group.

American fashion press WWD first broke the news the day before Kering confirmed the departure on Wednesday.

“I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Alessandro at the end of 2014, since then we have had the pleasure to work closely together as Gucci has charted its successful path over these last eight years,” said Marco Bizzaripresident and CEO of Gucci.

“I would like to thank him for his 20 years of commitment to Gucci and for his vision, devotion, and unconditional love for this unique house during his tenure as creative director.”

Moving forward, Gucci’s design office will continue to carry the creative direction of the house, until a new creative organisation will be announced.

Michele first joined Gucci some 20 years ago, working in the company’s shoe and accessories department. He was appointed creative director in 2015, succeeding Frida Giannini, who held the role from 2006 to 2014, after U.S. designer Tom Ford.

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Michele’s shock departure comes after several quarters of lacklustre sales results from Kering’s star brand, Gucci. Kering last month reported that Gucci continued to underperform versus the group’s other brands, despite organic sales picking up pace in the third quarter. Revenues at the Italian label totaled 2.6 billion euros, up 9 percent on a like-for-like basis, following a 4 percent rise in the second quarter.