It's hard to deny that Alessandro Michele's influence on the fashion world has been anything other than both phenomenal and ubiquitous. Whether you're on Instagram, at fashion week, or even on the tube—and regardless of even knowing who this Roman-born designer is—I guarantee you'll see someone wearing a piece of Alessandro's Gucci. It could be a head-to-toe look or a monogrammed bag, but once you're acquainted with his highly distinctive more-is-more aesthetic, it's plain to see everywhere. So much so that you'll even start to spot the copycats we see multiplying by the minute.
After a period of recession-friendly runways being dedicated to safe, minimal styling, 45-year-old Michele's designs came along at a time when we needed something new and bold, and boy, did he deliver. His fresh—and frankly quite madcap—take on geek-chic became one of the most coveted, talked-about and copied styles within moments of his first A/W womenswear show for the brand in 2015. But to understand just how the designer came to change the way we dress, we're looking at his career history, his A-list fans, his popularity with street stylers, the major trends he's created, as well as the cult buys we're all still snapping up. Keep scrolling to see just how Alessandro Michele is the man behind every major trend right now.
Interestingly, Michele was a relatively "unknown" designer before he headed up the Italian fashion house. He started his career as an accessories designer at Fendi until he was hired by Tom Ford in 2002 for Gucci. However, it was when he became creative director in 2015 (following Frida Giannini's departure) that he demonstrated why he was selected for such a major role in the industry. In only a matter of months, Alessandro Michele completely turned around Gucci, and after the brand had experienced two years of profit decline, it reported a growth of 5%. Just this year, Kering, the company that owns Gucci has once again reported record sales with a "revenue growth of 51.4%."
The A-list fan club
As with any major fashion house, the role of celebrities is vital. Not only do they act as great brand ambassadors—they make the clothes look awesome. But Michele has been extra smart when it comes to dressing the A-list. With the likes of cool girls Florence Welch and Alexa Chung wearing his designs, his daring, vintage-made-new collections are regularly showcased by women everyone wants to dress like. He's also tapped some new muses in the form of Dakota Johnson and also Jared Leto (as well as up and coming stars such as Hari Nef and SoKo), who make the brand seem fresh and exciting. As if that wasn't enough, just after a year of becoming creative director, in 2016, Beyoncé tapped Michele's new Gucci designs for a whole array of looks for her "Formation" video. Bow down, indeed.
Street style worship
When catwalk pieces start to hit the street style circuit on an almost hourly basis, you know that a brand is taking over. It's hard to convey just how ubiquitous Gucci's handbags, shoes, and accessories have become at fashion week. From the many must-haves loafers to the various iterations of the Dionysus bags, since 2015 Gucci has been spotted on everyone at London, Paris, New York, and Milan… and beyond.
Michele's creations have kick-started so many trends it's almost hard to pin down all of them in one article. It's no surprise, considering his beginnings, that accessories have been a pivotal part of all of his collections: oversized granny glasses, huge bows (on everything) and berets have became super popular and have been copied many times on the high street. As for clothing, where do we start? From metallic pleated skirts to slogan tees, embroidered bomber jackets to pussy-bow blouses, shell suits and florals on everything imaginable, there are so many current looks that this man is responsible for.
At Who What Wear, we seem to write about cult Gucci pieces more than any other designer label. Whether it's the Gucci logo T-shirt that kept selling out, the double G belt that's as popular with celebs as it is with influencers or the loafers that are worn by everyone (posh mums to hipsters, and everybody in between), there are a few pieces that have become iconic. Of course, as you'll now want to shop them, we've rounded them up below. Thank us (and Alessandro) later.
Next up, the biggest A/W 17 fashion trends you need to know about.