Update: It's official.
After weeks of speculation about who will replace Frida Giannini as Gucci's creative director, one name has emerged above the rest: Alessandro Michele, Gucci's head accessories designer, who is expected to be announced as creative director of the Italian house as early as this week.
A request for comment from the brand's representatives was not immediately returned.
In a semi-public display of leadership, Michele was able to produce the house's men's collection, which showed in Milan on Monday, in less than a week, according to the New York Times. WWD has also reported on Michele's impending appointment, observing that Michele is “feeling excited, free and going for it.” But perhaps the greatest confirmation came from the design team, which warmly applauded him as the group took a bow after the menswear show.
Michele joined Gucci in 2002, and became Giannini's deputy in 2011 when he took over the leather goods, shoes, jewelry and home collections. He is also the creative director of Gucci's porcelain brand, Richard Ginori.
Despite all the rumors of big names taking over Giannini's role -- like Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci and Saint Laurent's Hedi Slimane -- it's not terribly surprising that Gucci has (reportedly) decided to promote from within. Giannini was Gucci's handbag designer before she became creative director, and the brand is best known for its high-quality and profitable leather goods.