Milan Fashion Week 2015 already started, but today will be a special day for the new Gucci‘s creative director Alessandro Michele at the helm. Michele’s Fall 2015 menswear collection, his first for the luxury fashion brand, was put together in less than one week. It might be a harbinger of what’s to come for the 94-year-old house, or it might not be really enough to judge? While many of the details of Michele’s showing this afternoon are under wraps, it’s still the debut of the season.
Milan Design Agenda will give you unknown facts about today’s Gucci’s Milan Fashion Week 2015, even before the lights go up on the catwalk!
Who’s Alessandro Michele, the designer?
Michele is largely a mystery to world fashion, having risen through the ranks at the house over the past 12 years during both Tom Ford and Frida Giannni’s tenures. His background is in handbag design, having been the senior accessories designer at Fendi, where he worked with Giannini, before leaving Fendi and joining Gucci with her in 2002. By 2006, Michele was promoted to leather goods design director at Gucci, and promoted again in 2012 to associate director under Giannini. Michele has also served as the creative director of Richard Ginori 1735—a Florence-based porcelain brand purchased by Gucci in June 2013—since September 2014.
Michele is largely a mystery to the fashion world, having risen through the ranks at the house over the past 12 years during both Tom Ford and Frida Giannni’s tenures. His background is in handbag design, having been the senior accessories designer at Fendi, where he worked with Giannini, before leaving Fendi and joining Gucci with her in 2002. By 2006, Michele was promoted to leather goods design director at Gucci, and promoted again in 2012 to associate director under Giannini. Michele has also served as the creative director of Richard Ginori 1735—a Florence-based porcelain brand purchased by Gucci in June 2013—since September 2014.
Gucci will be at Milan Fashion Week 2015 presenting at the same venue as in previous seasons, Piazza Oberdan. There will be two big differences from Gucci catwalks past. First: There’s only one showing. In past seasons Gucci would present the collections in two back-to-back shows, making it possible for more buyers, press, and guests to see the show. The second change is the setup of the runway itself. Similar to the men’s showing in January—Michele’s first collection for the house—the runway will not be set up as a straight line. The space will instead be more of a room format, with the runway angling around sections of seated guests.
Since Michele’s takeover, Gucci’s branding has undergone a slight change, most evident in its social media icons and the invites for its show. The house’s Facebook avatar is now a blush background with two intersecting G’s silhouetted in black—a dramatic difference from the gold G logo the brand had been using against different-colored backgrounds during Giannini’s helm. Invites to the Milan fashion week 2015 show are in line with this theme, with guests receiving pale pink paper invites with floral backing. Gucci shared its invite on its social channels in a bed of moody-hued silk flowers—perhaps a nod to the upcoming collection? The floral motif is a signature of the house that dates back to the ’60s, most recently getting a makeover under Giannini, who updated the pattern in 2004 and used it in her Resort 2015 collection.
Longtime Gucci casting directors Barbara Nicoli and Leila Ananna will be casting the Fall 2015 show. The pair has already revealed one of the show’s models on their Instagram: a new face whose name they don’t divulge. But if her looks could talk, they’d say that her super-slender frame and long hair call to mind the opener of Michele’s debut gender-bending men’s show. One of Gucci’s go-to girls, Nadja Bender, also just landed in Milan for fashion week—we’d be surprised if she didn’t take a turn on Michele’s runway.
If his men’s show is telling, Michele is looking to push the Gucci house into a more directional space. (New Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri said Michele’s appointment was “based upon the contemporary vision he has articulated for the brand that he will now bring to life.”) The trick will be marrying this buzzier approach with the commercial needs of a brand that is expected to grow its revenue beyond €3.49 billion (Gucci’s 2014 stat). Proposing masculin femininpieces for men might not seem like a risky concept in this day and age, butMichele’s pussy-bow blouses and cropped jackets did raise a few eyebrows with retailers. Then again, he is a handbag designer through and through, and his accessories offering will likely be the deciding factor in his success. Things bode well for Michele in this arena, with Tom Ford telling The New York Times, “He was a great handbag designer when he worked with me.”