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Gucci taps in-house designer Michele as new creative director

A woman holding an umbrella walks past a company logo of a Gucci boutique outside a shopping mall amid rainfall in central Guangzhou, Guangdong province February 25, 2014. Picture taken February 25, 2014. REUTERS/Alex Lee

PARIS (Reuters) - Gucci promoted senior designer Alessandro Michele to creative director of the Italian fashion house, its owner French luxury goods group Kering <PRTP.PA> said on Wednesday.

The Florence luxury mark, best known for its leather goods aimed at the international jet-set, decided last month to part with creative director Frida Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco, promoting luxury couture and leather goods division head Marco Bizzarri to the top job.

Michele, 42, joined Gucci's design team in 2002, eventually rising to become the No. 2 designer after Giannini, Kering said in a statement.

"Alessandro's talent and his knowledge of the company and the design teams in place will for sure allow him to move quickly and seamlessly in implementing his new creative direction for the collections and the brand," Bizzarri said.

Born and trained in Rome, Michele's first collection as creative director will be women's Autumn/Winter 2015-2016 ready-to-wear, to be presented on Feb. 25 in Milan.

One of Kering's biggest sources of income, Gucci has seen sales slip as it moved the brand upmarket while also taking a hit from weak market conditions, especially in China.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas. Editing by Alexandria Sage.)