Gucci's Alessandro Michele on Inspiration, His Gender-Fluid Approach and How He Got This Job

“Fashion is not about products. Fashion is about an amazing idea that you tried.”

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It’s only been 18 months since Alessandro Michele was catapulted to the top of the fashion world, having been promoted to creative director of Gucci. But within two years, the designer has turned the once ailing brand into an undeniable force. At the same time, he turned the Gucci aesthetic around by introducing his baroque-inspired retro style to the brand, which won over hordes of fans. During British Vogue‘s two-day Vogue Festival in London, the designer spoke to Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman about his career, his inspirations and his approach to fashion. Read the entire recap over at Fashionista.

And yet there is something entirely modern about Michele’s approach — if it weren’t, his clothes wouldn’t feel so right for right now — consistent with the way he lives. Michele says he likes not knowing what is on his now-crazy schedule on any given day, which he believes allows him to live in the moment. Similarly, he believes his clothes look contemporary because he is able to embrace the unknown, weaving multiple threads of influence to create something new.

He is also — and this is a bit hard to believe given Gucci’s emphasis on flashy accessories — trying to move away from the idea of selling product, but selling an idea that customers want to buy into. “In the last 10 years, the market has been full of products,” he said. “Fashion is not about products. Fashion is about an amazing idea that you tried and you either fall in love with the idea and you can’t resist to buy something. But you are buying the idea, you are not buying the object.”

Michele has been praised for his gender-fluid approach to his men’s and women’s collections, which he has decided to show together going forward. “I am between, you are in-between, we are not one thing, we are always between two different worlds,” he said of gender. His approach is less about finding a synthesis between masculine and feminine than a search for a kind of pure beauty. “I started from this point of view that it’s more about the idea of beauty than gender,” he said, adding, “Beauty is like if you fall in love with a beautiful man, it’s not easy… [You] try to put your hands on a beauty, it’s really dangerous because… beauty has a kind of power.”

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