Alessandro Michele is the new creative director of Valentino

By Luke Leitch

The newest chapter in the history of Valentino – and of Alessandro Michele – has begun

Alessandro Michele is the new creative director of Valentino. The Roman designer’s first day at Rome’s archetypal couture house will be next Tuesday 2nd April. His debut collection under the Valentino flag will be spring/summer '25: under current plans, it will be unveiled during this September’s edition of Paris Fashion Week at what will be the most anticipated show of the season.


“It’s an incredible honour,” said Michele of his appointment in a statement today. He added: “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.”

He will work from one of fashion’s most beautiful offices: Valentino’s studio in Palazzo Mignanelli, a few moments from the Spanish Steps. Among his duties will be designing couture collections for the first time.

Speaking of the prospect, he said: “I search for words to nominate the joy, to regard it, to really convey what I feel; the smiles that kick from the chest, the bliss of gratitude that lights up the eyes, that precious moment when necessity and beauty reach out and meet. Joy, though, is such a living thing that I’m afraid to hurt it if I dare to speak its name.”

I am certain that 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.

Jacopo Venturini, CEO of Valentino

That joy is not confined to Michele. His appointment has been overseen by Valentino’s CEO, Jacopo Venturini. The two men previously worked as colleagues at Gucci, where Michele spent seven years as creative director, and Venturini was vice president of merchandising and global markets.

Praising Michele’s “profound intelligence” and “wonderful lightness”, Venturini said: “I am very happy and excited to return to work with Alessandro.” He added: “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.” The newly appointed creative director described Venturini as: “an extraordinary professional, able to combine pragmatism and strategic vision, competence and sensibility”.

At Gucci, Michele’s ability to conjure “irresistibly desirable objects” transformed the fortunes of the house, nearly tripling revenues from €3.5 billion in 2014 to €9.73 billion in 2022. This is one reason why, ever since his departure in November that year, speculation about his next creative home has swirled near-constantly. In the end, all roads led to Rome.

From Tuesday, Michele will embark upon a total immersion within the archive and codes of his new home. He said: “My first thought goes to this story: to the richness of its cultural and symbolic heritage, to the sense of wonder it constantly generates, to the very precious identity given with their wildest love by founding fathers, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti. These references always represented an essential source of inspiration for me, and I’m going to praise such influence through my own interpretation and creative vision.”

Garavani launched his namesake house alongside his partner Giammetti in 1960. Between its foundation and his retirement 48 years later, Garavani created an enormous treasury of intensely romantic womenswear — and from 1969, menswear too. Michele’s appointment today follows last week’s departure of Pierpaolo Piccioli, who led the house with great aplomb and acclaim from 2008.

In part, Michele’s new role will reunite him with Kering Group, which owns Gucci. Valentino was acquired for €700 million by the investment fund Mayhoola in 2012. Last year, Mayhoola sold a 30 per cent share in the house to Kering for €1.7 billion, in a deal that reportedly allows Kering to acquire the rest of the brand by 2028 whilst also allowing Mayhoola to take a stake in Kering. Should Michele prove as transformational to Valentino as he was to Gucci, that opportunity will look highly appealing on both sides.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, chairman of Valentino, was instrumental in that deal, as well as today’s appointment of Michele. In a statement today, he said: “The appointment of Alessandro Michele marks another pivotal moment for Maison Valentino. He is an exceptional talent, and his appointment underlines our great ambitions for Maison Valentino.” He added: “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.”

At the time of its investment in Valentino, Kering’s chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault, described Valentino as “a unique Italian house that is synonymous with beauty and elegance”. As Piccioli did before him, Michele is now bound to recalibrate Valentino’s sumptuously classical expression of beauty through his own creative lens and instinct. Michele once said that “beauty has no boundaries, no rules, no colours” — and his expansive, inclusive and fiercely intellectual philosophy has seen him interrogate many such perceived boundaries on the runway.

Michele’s decision to remain based in the city of his birth should come as no surprise: as he recently told Vogue: “Rome bewitches you. It welcomes everyone in a dishevelled way.” His new and atmospheric office is barely a 10-minute walk from his home. Michele today acknowledged his good fortune, gratitude and excitement about what lies ahead: “May my bow with arms wide open speak for itself, and salute in this early spring the regeneration of life and the promise of new blooming.” The newest chapter in the history of Valentino – and of Alessandro Michele – has begun.