Gucci Ancora: Sabato De Sarno attempts to reawaken the Tom Ford era…minimal version

Gucci again? On Friday September 22, Sabato De Sarno presented his highly anticipated first collection for Kering’s flagship fashion house in Milan. There was no flash in the pan for this Act I, but a reinitialization of Gucci’s style, far removed from the pomp and extravagance of Alessandro Michele.


It’s not easy to be entrusted with the mission of resurrecting a 102-year-old House that has already been reinvented twice. Especially when houses like Louis Vuitton and Dior have been winning financially for several seasons, far outstripping the operating profits of its parent company, Kering.


Let’s face it, the designer prefers to take a sideways step rather than an outright schism. He’s rehabilitating Tom Ford’s short, suggestive style, minus the offensive, sultry edge. As for the memory of Alessandro Michele, who remained at the creative helm for 7 years, he retains only the romantic vision and a few light pieces, without ever straying too far from the House’s archives.


While it’s too early to say that De Sarno has succeeded in touching the public’s heart, he has indeed ushered in a new era, that of a Gucci converted to the discreet charm of Quiet Luxury, even if it means invoking the imagery of other Italian Houses.


Reset at home


Sabato De Sarno composed a sober, almost cerebral Gucci woman with a new-found elegance before a packed audience at the House’s historic HQ – the Gucci Hub – on the outskirts of the city.


In the bare room, plunged into darkness like a mausoleum, only a few quadrangular sections of light outlined small walkways, similar to the pedestrian streets where the Spring-Summer 2024 show was originally scheduled to take place.


The Neapolitan forty-something’s desire to show Gucci in daylight in the streets of the Brera district was thwarted by particularly rainy weather.


In the weeks leading up to the show, however, he had set the tone with his “Ancoraplastered everywhere, on the networks and in the city, even on the Lombardy capital’s emblematic streetcars. This expression of unquenchable desire was intended to mark the end of a nine-month hiatus from the public eye, since his appointment and the departure of his predecessor Alessandro Michele last November.

A collection furiously Prada… and Quiet Luxury


The pressure was on as to whether the young prodigy would resurrect the lost desirability of Kering’s $10 million Florentine flagship brand.


True to the words shared with Vogue Business, the opening look restored De Sarno’s taste for coat-making. This was in stark contrast to Alessandro Michele, who came from the world of accessories.


This inaugural look set the tempo for the show, where the coat warmed up wool mini-shorts worn low-waisted with a white tank top, GG belt and choker necklace from the Marina Chain jewelry line.


© Gucci


From then on, it was an impression of intermezzo that dominated, rather than the grand écart hoped for by some. At least, that’s the view of Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times, who sees it essentially as “a purifying interregnum after Michele’s excessive madness”. And on the web, devotees of De Sarno’s predecessor have not failed to share their regret for the maximalist creator and their boredom.

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Featured photo: © Gucci

Picture of Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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