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What’s going on in the world of fashion now?

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Creative directors are spun on the fashion wheel for various reasons – death, or dismal sales, for instance – but in recent years, the cycle has spun faster. Seemingly every month, there is a new announcement about a designer leaving or joining a major brand.

In April 2024, Alessandro Michele succeeded Pierpaolo Piccioli as the creative director for Valentino; the latter left the brand after 25 years. The much-lauded Piccioli, who modernised Valentino with swooningly, sumptuously-coloured couture creations, is now without a platform. Hopefully, not for too long – can the fashion industry truly afford a great talent to lie fallow?

Michele, (he left Gucci in 2022, where he was the brand’s creative director from 2015) was succeeded by Sabato De Sarno in 2023, with still uncertain success. Ironically, De Sarno, 41, had come to Gucci from Valentino, working under Piccioli, and before that at Prada. His four collections for Gucci so far were well-received by critics for his move from the magpie maximalism of his predecessor, and for blending contemporary cuts and traditional craftsmanship, meticulous tailoring and innovative fabric. But it remains to be seen how this quiet luxury aesthetics can last in a world addicted to noisy, clickbait fashion. As for Michele, he has already released a capsule collection for Valentino that strongly recalls his best work for Gucci. If you think flounces, frills, florals and fauna – in one floofy blouse – is too much, Michele has added rhinestones.



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