Notes on Alessandro Michele’s Valentino Appointment

Today Valentino announced that it hired Gucci’s erstwhile creative director Alessandro Michele to lead its storied house. The appointment came just days after its current designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli was let go. 

This is a curious case. Usually, big guns are brought in to fix something, but Valentino did not seem to be broken, though “seem” is a key operating word here. Just like Michele, Piccioli is a talented designer and one of fashion’s darlings – his collections are universally lauded. And Valentino’s sales seem fine. In 2022, according to Reuters, it had revenues of 1.42 billion euros, 10% higher than its sales in 2021, which in turn were 15% above the year prior. On the strength of these numbers, Kering bought a 30% stake in Valentino from Mayhoola, a Qatar government investment fund that also owns Balmain, with an option to acquire the entire company by 2028.