If you haven’t heard already, the seven year tenure of Alessandro Michele at Gucci has officially come to an end. The designer to replace Michele as creative director is not yet known, but we look to appreciate how Alessandro forged the brand’s identity while adhering to Gucci’s iconic hallmarks.

The fashion designer posted a parting message on Instagram, saying, “Today an extraordinary journey ends for me, lasting more than twenty years, within a company to which I have tirelessly dedicated all my love and creative passion. During this long period Gucci has been my home, my adopted family. To this extended family, to all the individuals, who have looked after and supported it, I send my most sincere thanks, my biggest and most heartfelt embrace.”

He had a key role in the Italian brand’s period of rapid growth. When he was elevated from head of accessories to creative director in 2015 and began to introduce more varied and androgynous styles to the Gucci catwalk that capitalised on the cultural moment, sales were in decline. The brand attracted throngs of younger customers in China and the US, and Michele frequently clothed celebrities including pop star and actor Harry Styles.

The popular Instagram account and fashion watchdog group, Diet Prada added their own opinion, sharing that Michele would be incredibly hard to replace, giving homage to his extraordinary reputation he’s built over the years with his vibrant designs.

There will never be another like Alessandro Michele at Gucci. Kering may try, but it’s going to be really hard to replicate that paradigm-shifting magic that happened when he took the creative reins. Sure, it was a bold move on the executives’ part, but the vision was all Michele—and it was extraordinary.

Diet Prada

Sure, making the right new hire will be crucial for Kering since Gucci generates around two-thirds of operating profit annually but has recently been growing more slowly. Despite this, Michele had a key role in the Italian brand’s period of rapid growth when he became creative director in 2015 through the introduction of more androgynous styles to the Gucci catwalk.

Whilst there is an overwhelming shock within Gucci fans, some may believe it was his time to part ways as some may argue that the designs he used had lost their freshness. Let’s wait and see what he continues to do next. Perhaps he may launch his own label and get all the creative freedom he deserves?