As Vogue celebrates 100 fabulous years of British fashion’s finest journalism at the Vogue World venue on the East Albert Lawn in Kensington, Alessandro Michele takes the stage with Alexandra Shulman, the editor in chief of British Vogue, for the grand finale of the festival.
Gucci recently started transforming its Tom Ford’s identity of Jet Setting lifestyle, the brands sex driven designs and campaigns that destroyed Gucci’s luxurious aesthetic from the early ‘00s. Key figure in Gucci’s transformation process, Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s current Creative Director, talked about the start of the new venture in his fashion career, when he decided 14 years ago to move to London to work with the infamous Tom Ford and leave his Fendi career to history.
Michele reminded us of Gucci’s beautiful Italian heritage and the powerful connection the brand has with Florence. However, he described Gucci as a brand lacking in legacy, “there was still something not written about the brand”.
For Alessandro Michele there are no boundaries when it comes to creativity, just as in Florence the city, which has not changed – you can be in touch with the Renaissance and its affluent decoration, as well as having modern visions far beyond the edges of the city.
On being appointed as the new Creative Director since January 2015, Alessandro Michele took control of Gucci’s global brand image and collections. Michele talked about his design work and the change of aesthetic process that Gucci has undertaken in the last year. Michele told us about his mix of Renaissance and street style, and that his initial inspiration was “trompe l’oeil, a unique idea involving realistic imagery and transforming it into something unrealistic and illusionary.
Alessandro Michele discussed his verdict on fashion and how it is no longer just a product but an idea that you have to try and understand. “The market is ready for something new”, Michele claimed. The core element to fashion is falling in love with something and not being able to resist buying it. In other words, the concept and designs speak for themselves. Michele described the new Gucci as “creepy” whilst still having a deep beauty and a sweet taste. He claimed the catalyst for the change of aesthetic is bravery, which can create amazing things.
With Dior’s Raf Simons, Balenciaga’s Alexander Wang, and Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz leaving their luxury fashion houses in 2015 – there may be fears that the luxury market is crashing. Alessandro Michele talked about his experience of dealing with pressure as the Creative Director of Gucci. Much of it was centred on wanting to do a lot in a limited amount of time. Michele also talked about being asked to prepare shows with the time frame of just a week and doing it in five days, he referred to it being like a “beautiful exam”.
It is visible that Michele thrives in his new role and his words suggest that only the true admirers of fashion can be successful with the love for “transforming something ugly to something beautiful”.
Words: Lucia Burns