Gucci Announces Sabato de Sarno as its New Creative Director – Gucci, a well-known luxury fashion brand, has recently made a significant change to its leadership by naming Sabato de Sarno as its new creative director. This is a highly coveted position in the fashion industry, as the creative director is responsible for overseeing the design and overall aesthetic of the brand.
This move comes as part of Gucci’s effort to revitalize the brand and overcome challenges it faced in the previous year, where it was outshined by another brand in Kering Group’s portfolio, Saint Laurent. Gucci is taking steps to shake things up and combat what has been referred to as “brand fatigue”, in order to regain its position as a leading luxury fashion brand.
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Alessandro Michele, who successfully revitalized Gucci by appealing to the values and preferences of Gen Z, recently left the company abruptly. It is believed that this was due to his reluctance to implement a high-growth strategy as requested by the company’s board. “I want men and women to feel authentic and free in the pursuit of themselves,” Michele once said of his mission at Gucci. Since then, a number of high profile names have been linked with the role – including Anthony Vaccarello, who has been immensely successful as the creative director of Saint Laurent.
De Sarno is a little known name, but arrives at Gucci with a prestigious CV. He has been a key figure in the design studio at Valentino for the past 13 years, during which it reinvented itself from a byword for old-school elegance to the buzziest brand on social media, with the power to set trends all over the world. When Valentino decreed a year ago that fuchsia was the colour of the season with a Paris catwalk show flooded with sugary shades, it launched a summer in which “Valentino pink” became the new black, from the red carpets of Hollywood to the high-street shop floor.
De Sarno advanced to his position as the head of creative direction for both womenswear and menswear at Valentino. It is believed that he was responsible for designing the highly publicized wedding dress worn by Nicola Peltz at her wedding to Brooklyn Beckham last year. The first hint at the look and feel of De Sarno’s Gucci came in the timing of the announcement. Sabato means Saturday in Italian, and Kering released the news outside the working week, on a Saturday morning.
It was the kind of esoteric, individualistic quirk of timing that might have befitted the era of Michele, who moved Gucci’s shows away from the traditional calendar, preferring to follow his “own rhythm.” Observers are likely to glean from this timing a hint that De Sarno, like his predecessor, will bring a personal touch to the powerhouse brand.
Aside from the timing, De Sarno gave little away in a statement released accompanied by a simple portrait showing him arms folded, unsmiling, with close cropped hair and wearing a plain black crew-neck sweater. “I am deeply honoured to take on the role as creative director of Gucci,” he said. “I am proud to join a house with such an extraordinary history and heritage, that over the years has been able to welcome and cherish values I believe in. I am touched and excited to contribute my creative vision for the brand.”
Fashion now has an eight-month wait for De Sarno’s Gucci debut at Milan fashion week in September. It is understood the team left in place by Michele will design the show scheduled to take place in Milan next month, and a Cruise collection to be shown in Seoul in May. De Sarno has “vast and relevant experience,” Gucci’s chief executive, Marco Bizzarri, said in a statement. “He will lead our creative teams with a distinctive vision that will help write this exciting next chapter, reinforcing the house’s fashion authority while capitalising on its rich heritage.”
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Gucci will have been encouraged by the recollection that their previous appointment – Michele – was, like De Sarno, an unknown name until given the top job. Michele was plucked from within the Gucci team, but De Sarno is an outsider to the brand. It is a strongly Italian appointment at a house whose backstory in Rome and Florence is a proud element of its prestige. Born in Naples, De Sarno worked at Prada and at Dolce & Gabbana before moving to Valentino in 2009.