Valentino Enters Its Alessandro Michele Era

The song has stopped in at least one game of fashion musical chairs. Valentino has a new creative director: Alessandro Michele, the former Gucci designer who left that brand in 2022.

Mr. Michele, who was known for having transformed Gucci into a $10 billion powerhouse by making it a baroque treasure chest of inclusivity and magpie references, replaces Pierpaolo Piccioli, who parted ways with Valentino last week.

The appointment, which was first reported by Vogue Business, brings Mr. Michele, 51, back to the heart of the fashion world. A mediagenic figure with the beard of an Old Testament prophet, rings on most of his fingers and a tendency to quote obscure philosophers, he had been at Gucci for most of his career. His work was favored by celebrities such as Jared Leto, Harry Styles and Dakota Johnson.

“It is a great honor for me to be welcomed in the Maison Valentino,” Mr. Michele wrote in the caption of an Instagram post shared on Thursday. “I feel immense joy and enormous responsibility.”

Going to Valentino also reunites Mr. Michele with Kering, the French conglomerate that owns Gucci and 30 percent of Valentino, a brand it is expected to acquire fully by 2028. (Mayhoola for Investments, the Qatari fund, currently owns the rest). Mr. Michele’s appointment signals the group’s desire to grow Valentino, which reported sales of $1.56 billion for 2022, into a brand that can compete with such behemoths as Dior and Hermès.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the chairman of Valentino, said in a news release that Mr. Michele’s appointment “underlines our great ambitions for Maison Valentino.”

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