Gucci separates from Alessandro Michele, a farewell that says a lot

Michael Tran/FilmMagic LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 03: Alessandro Michele attends the 2018 LACMA Art + Film Gala held at LACMA on November 03, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Alessandro Michele, here in November 2018, in Los Angeles.

INSTRUCTIONS – We put away the scissors, threads and needles. This Wednesday, November 23, the great Gucci fashion house announced the departure of its emblematic artistic director Alessandro Michele, after seven years in the position during which he “he contributed greatly to making Gucci what it is today”but without being able in recent years to relaunch sales with the same vigor as its competitors.

“There are times when the roads diverge due to the different perspectives that each of us may have”said Alessandro Michele in a press release from the Kering group, owner of the Italian brand which alone represents 55% of the group’s 17.6 billion euros in sales recorded in 2021.

“Today concludes for me an extraordinary journey that lasted more than twenty years, He continued. Gucci has been my home, my adoptive family. » The designer, who turns 50 on Friday, joined the company in 2002, before taking over from Frida Giannini as collection director in 2015.

“His passion, his imagination, his fantasy and his culture have helped put Gucci back in the spotlight, where it belongs”, greeted the CEO of the luxury group, François-Henri Pinault. No replacement has been announced and the Gucci design studio “will continue to provide creative responsibility to the House until a new organization is announced.”

A “surprise” departure.

“A risk at the time, since it was completely unknown”Serge Carreira, a lecturer at Sciences Po Paris in the Fashion and Luxury Masters, told AFP. For him, Alessandro Michele “he embodied the new chapter of the Gucci house, engaging on social issues, placing the brand in its time. He revived the legacy of the house by giving it a modernity ». The departure of him is at “surprise”.

During the Spring-Summer 2023 show in Milan, Alessandro Michele was still amazed when, at the end of the presentation of 68 models, a wall was raised in the center of the catwalk revealing that another audience had witnessed the same show on the other side… Up identical twins.

Or exposing anti-far-right slogans on some outfits in a fashion show that took place on the eve of the elections for Giorgia Meloni’s party in Italy. Words and drawings in favor of abortion and women’s freedom to dispose of their bodies also had an effect during a brand show in Milan in 2019.

After a leap in sales between 2015 and 2019, Gucci is stalling against its competitors, held back in particular by Covid and its heavy dependence on the Asian market (44%). “Observers believe that after a thunderous start and fairly rapid growth, we are reaching a plateau effect that may create a feeling of impatience that new momentum is needed”analyzes Serge Carreira, remembering that Gucci “it is one of the three, four biggest brands in the luxury sector”.

gucci’ it’s not in crisis »

This Wednesday, following the announcement of Alessandro Micheleque’s departure from the site specializing in the world of luxury Women’s clothing every dayciting anonymous sources, financial analysts do not hide their satisfaction. “Great News”pointed out a note from Bernstein: “Gucci suffers from brand fatigue and Alessandro Michele has been doing the same for seven years”. According to RBC bank, “institutional investors seem to agree that a new approach is needed to revive the brand”.

Questioned by financial analysts, the chief financial officer of Kering, Jean-Marc Duplaix, had defended himself in October. “You know that in luxury what you have to consider is the long term (…) In recent years, the growth of the Gucci brand has been very consistent with that of our main competitors, whatever the outperformance of these competitors compared to the last two, three years”He said.

In 2021, Gucci achieved a 31.2% increase in turnover compared to 2020, against an increase of 41% for Prada and 49.6% for Chanel. LVMH does not disclose its brands, but sales of its fashion and leather goods section (largely dominated by Louis Vuitton) increased by 47%. Shades of Serge Carreira: “its growth is weaker than that of its competitors but it is not a drop in turnover. The brand is not in crisis. »

As in Gucci, business is also good in fashion. The sector has observed a 13% increase compared to 2021, according to a study transmitted by Capital in mid-November, which specifies that the growth has benefited 95% of the brands. As in Gucci, he did not guarantee job security for everyone, as evidenced by the “surprise” departures of some artistic directors, in particular Ricardo Tisci of Burberry, Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh of Nina Ricci.

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