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Alessandro Michele named creative director of Valentino

By Rachel Douglass


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Alessandro Michele Credits: Valentino

The dust has only just settled from the shock announcement that Valentino’s long-time creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli was to step down. Alas, unlike the usually drawn out build up of successor announcements typically made by other houses of such calibre, the Italian luxury label has been quick to name Alessandro Michele as its new creative head.

Set to take the reins from April 2, we will not be seeing Michele’s interpretation of the Valentino codes until his debut collection for the spring/summer 2025 season. As such, the industry veteran will be taking to September’s Paris Fashion Week, skipping over the city’s impending men’s and couture events in keeping with what Valentino had previously confirmed.

In a statement to the press, Michele said of his appointment: “It’s an incredible honour. I feel the immense joy and the huge responsibility to join a Maison de Couture that has the word ‘beauty’ carved on a collective story made of distinctive elegance, refinement, and extreme grace.”

Michele was appointed by Valentino’s chief executive officer Jacolop Venturini, with whom he used to work at Gucci, where Michele had previously served as creative director over several years.

On the announcement, Venturini, Gucci’s former VP of merchandising and global markets, said he was “excited” to once again work with Michele, adding: “I am certain that the reinterpretation of the maison's couture codes and the heritage created by Mr Valentino Garavani, combined with Alessandro’s extraordinary vision, will bring us moments of great emotion and will translate into irresistibly desirable objects.”

Michele’s appointment underlines ‘great ambitions’ for Valentino

Valentino chairman Rachid Mohamed Rachid also expressed his joy at the appointment, which he said underlined the house’s “great ambitions”. Rachid continued: “I strongly believe that with his unique creativity and sensibility, Alessandro will continue the elevation of the brand’s everlasting heritage… a new page of excellence and endless beauty is ready to be written in the history of Valentino.”

Since stepping down from Gucci towards the end of 2022, Michele’s next stop had been at the height of speculation, with rumours suggesting that he was to take up the houses of Bulgari, Givenchy and, most recently, Dries Van Noten, the brand of the namesake designer who also announced his departure earlier last week.

Michele had joined the Gucci house before becoming a household name in and of himself, with his entry bringing a significant design shift that the Kering-owned label’s investors were calling for at the time. His sense of maximalism and reliance on old-school Hollywood helped to catapult brand revenues into unprecedented growth, making it one of the biggest labels contributing to its parent company’s financials.

This, however, ultimately slowed towards the end of his tenure, when the pandemic caused a shake up in consumer spending and China’s resulting closure brought a halt to lucrative luxury business in the region. While other brands turned to a pared down approach, Michele continued to lean on overt extravagance, which had not been met with the same fervour as it once had been. As such, it was time for his exit, and it is only now that his name has officially re-emerged back onto the scene.

Michele’s reappearance at Valentino, however, is hardly a shock. The brand already has ties, albeit discreet, to the designer’s former Kering home. The luxury giant snapped up a 30 percent shareholding in the company towards the end of last year, making it Valentino’s largest shareholder. As such, it had entered into an agreement with the brand’s owner Mayhoola that could later see it swoop up the entirety of Valentino no later than 2028.

Alessandro Michele