Is Alessandro Michele Valentino’s Next Creative Director?

The designer is rumored to be next in line for the role...

by Aaron Royce
Alessandro Michele

Is Valentino about to enter its Alessandro Michele era? The fashion industry appears to think so! Let’s investigate what the rumor mill is saying.

Michele, who was previously creative director of Gucci from 2015 to 2022, has been mentioned as a contender to lead Valentino since former creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli announced his exit on Friday. Many are wondering who will take the beloved designer’s place, particularly following an announcement that Valentino won’t show haute couture or men’s collections in June, according to StyleNotCom. The role holds potential for Michele as Valentino is owned by Mayhoola, the company that also owns Walter Albini; Michele turned down a creative director role at the brand in 2023, according to reports.


Alessandro Michele and Salma Hayek Pinault (Getty Images)

“This time around, the Valentino project would be much more interesting for Michele, as it would also allow him to design couture collections, and it is no secret that he needs a well-oiled machine behind him to support his research and creativity, with skilled designers and artisans, the best fabrics and big pockets to turn his ideas into reality,” an anonymous source said. “Also, Valentino is not as huge in terms of sales as Gucci, so the pressure is different, and, on the contrary, there is strong growth potential.”

The timing for a possible appointment would also align smoothly with Michele’s own timeline. Per reports, the designer’s current non-compete clause expires in March, and he’s begun restoration on a new home in Roman city Palazzo Scapucci — meaning he’d already be physically in the vicinity of the Valentino headquarters.

Alessandro Michele, Gucci, Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish and Alessandro Michele (Getty Images)

Longevity, influence, and growth are also factors to consider within the Michele rumors—all of which he has in spades. Michele’s time at Gucci actually spans 20 years, as he got his start designing the brand’s handbags in 2002 under Tom Ford’s tenure. While creative director, Michele’s eclectic aesthetic—a blend of bohemian, romantic, and retro visuals—defined the Italian label in the 2010’s. His celebrity court, which included A$AP Rocky, Harry Styles, Diane Keaton, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, and Jared Leto, was similarly bold. Michele left Gucci in December 2022.

Gucci, Alessandro Michele, Jared Leto, Met Gala, red carpet, celebrity red carpet, Met Gala 2022

Alessandro Michele and Jared Leto attend the 2022 Met Gala (Getty Images)

Piccioli’s next role has also been a hot topic of discussion. The designer’s been rumored for consideration as creative director for Givenchy—which former lead Matthew M. Williams left in December.

Michele’s dedicated fan base, proven ability to build a brand’s world, continuous viral moments, and high sales could be his ticket to an equally large and influential house, such as Valentino. Piccioli, meanwhile, will likely take some well-deserved time off—but with an equally large fanbase in his own right, the industry titan, who led Valentino in various roles during his 25-year tenure there, isn’t predicted to leave fashion entirely.

We’ll be waiting—and keeping our eyes and ears open—for where they may end up.

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