According to sources at WWD, Michele, who has worked side by side with Giannini in the past, has been listed among the candidates who have been shortlisted to fill the role. Other possible successors to Giannini include Joseph Altuzarra, Riccardo Tisci and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Michele first joined the luxury label's design team back in 2002, before being named associate to Giannini in 2011, directly overseeing Gucci's leather goods, footwear, jewelry and homeware divisions.
Pressure is on for the luxury fashion house to fill the creative role following market speculation that its former creative director left her role earlier than anticipated. Internal sources confirm that Giannini left the label a week ago, after the new CEO, Marco Bizzarri took over the helm from di Marco. The former creative head is said to have been asked to leave her role at Gucci on Friday, when her contract was terminated almost a month in advance.
Giannini was scheduled to exit Gucci following her autumn/winter '15 show in Milan, on February 25. She was also slated to showcase her final men's wear show for the luxury brand on January 19. Market sources state that Gucci terminated Giannini's contract ahead of schedule to speed up decisions concerning the label's future creative direction. "The decision [about Giannini’s successor] needs to be made, so that it can have an impact on the upcoming collections and shows,” said one source to WWD.