For Gucci, this last year has been one of reinvention and disruption. New CEO Marco Bizzarri—appointed by Gucci parent Kering—was tasked with reenergizing the brand. Under his leadership, Gucci is undergoing what many are referring to as a complete overhaul. Bizzarri boasts a track record of strong growth at brands such as Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta.
Amid slowing growth across the fashion industry, Gucci has faced some difficult years. Following its hugely influential Tom Ford era, persistent concerns emerged over the design direction of Frida Giannini, who succeeded Ford as Creative Director. So, in a series of critical moves, Bizzarri overhauled management, and, in January 2015, surprised the industry by appointing Alessandro Michele—previous Associate Creative Director and an
accessories designer dating back to Ford’s tenure—as Gucci’s new Creative Director. Despite initial industry skepticism, Michele ’s new contemporary vision for the brand has risen to the challenge. His first menswear collection, produced in just five days, was critically acclaimed. Fashion insiders have embraced his lively and unexpected collections and have hailed his work as a fresh new direction for Gucci—never trying to mimic Ford’s collections, but instead molding the Gucci legacy into a new style and aesthetic.
Gucci has started a new chapter in its history. There was a need to change perspective by recapturing the spirit of innovation and by concentrating on the present and future of the brand. In becoming contemporary once again, it can reclaim its status as one of the world’s most influential fashion and luxury brands.
At the most recent Milan Fashion Week, Michele’s still-new tenure met with resounding success as he debuted his 2016 collection. In what the Wall Street Journal called a “fashion frenzy that hasn’t been seen in decades” and a Gucci “reborn,” fans flocked to its stores. There was even a resurgence of interest in vintage Gucci, especially from the Ford era.
The reinvention is not confined to just the catwalk. The new team is updating its boutiques, adding specialty store accounts, reimagining advertising campaigns, and launching new packaging. Collaborating again with photographer Glen Luchford for its 2016 resort campaign, Gucci’s print and digital advertising captures Michele’s fresh vision and eccentric style.
Despite these highly promising signs, Gucci dropped 14 percent in brand value on this year’s report, but increasing attention, conversation, and consideration may create the platform for more than just a creative resurgence.