Sabato De Sarno was determined to bring Gucci back to the streets, quite literally, with a runway show set against the vibrant backdrop of Milan’s Brera district. While impending rain thwarted his open-air runway debut, it certainly didn’t dampen his creative vision. In his debut as the torchbearer of the iconic fashion house, De Sarno paid homage to Gucci’s rich heritage while charting his unique path. He unveiled an array of sassy, leggy ensembles that the fashion-forward youth of today would proudly flaunt on the streets, or more glamorously, while stepping out of sleek black cars. The spirit of this collection, expertly captured through the lens of the next-gen Ron Galella, left an indelible mark.
Embracing the prevailing trend of clean and elegant daywear as witnessed at Prada and other prominent fashion houses, De Sarno’s vision marries the 1960s with the spirit of the 1990s. His collection featured tailored coats that exuded an air of timeless sophistication, super-short shorts, charming logo rompers and jumpers, figure-hugging tanks and knit sets, as well as relaxed, baggy jeans paired with crystal-studded bra tops. The celebrity turnout backstage spoke volumes about the collection’s success, with stars like Kendall Jenner offering congratulations to the designer. Her partner, the renowned Bad Bunny, was in close proximity, and the ever-dapper Ryan Gosling patiently awaited his turn to exchange pleasantries with De Sarno, even taking a moment to pose with the designer’s parents. Amidst the buzz, Julia Roberts found herself almost engulfed in the adoring crowd, while Mark Ronson, the musical genius behind the show, stretched across shoulders to greet and commend the designer.
De Sarno christened this collection “Ancora,” translating to “again” in English. In his own words, “Ancora is a word that you use when your desire is not over yet, whether it’s a kiss, an embrace, or making love; it’s as if you own something and you want more of it. I wanted to fall in love with fashion all over again – ancora.” Drawing a star-studded front row, the fashion show boasted appearances by luminaries such as Jessica Chastain, Julia Garner, Jodie Comer, Halle Bailey, Jodie Turner-Smith, and the ever-stunning model Daria Werbowy, the face of De Sarno’s teaser campaign, who graced the occasion in a black bikini bottom adorned with the iconic GG gold monogram.
´In the heart of Milan’s streets, Gucci’s ‘Ancora’ collection, as if spoken in the language of desire, invites us to fall in love with fashion all over again.´ – Sabato De Sarno
Pierpaolo Piccioli, De Sarno’s former mentor at Valentino, was also present, showing unwavering support. As he commented, “I already know what I expect to see… and I’m very proud. He’s the best choice.” De Sarno transformed iconic Gucci elements, miniaturising the Jackie and bamboo bags, elevating the Gucci loafer into a stylish platform, and introducing a new house colour, a rich Rosso Ancora red. This shade was inspired by the walls of The Savoy hotel‘s staff elevator in London, where the founder, Guccio Gucci, once worked as a porter in the late 19th century, igniting his passion to create a luggage brand.
Hidden within the collection’s details were subtle references to Gucci’s illustrious heritage. Embroideries inspired by ’50s era Gucci clutches brought to life crystal-covered baby-doll dresses, tailored skirts, and coats adorned with delicate crystal fringe. The Marina Chain jewellery from the late 1960s appeared throughout, adorning the collection with striking gold statement necklaces and chain slingback pumps. The iconic red-and-green Gucci stripes made surprise appearances, peeking out from the back slits of coats and skirts. In the lead-up to the show, Gucci’s Instagram underwent a clean slate, signaling a fresh chapter for the brand. De Sarno tantalised his own followers with a glimpse of what was to come, including Werbowy‘s striking Gucci jewellery campaign shot at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, a location set to host the LACMA Art + Film Gala in November and grace the attire of numerous celebrities.
In addition to De Sarno’s triumphant debut, Gucci is in the midst of significant changes in its C-suite, with Marco Bizzarri, the long-time president and star CEO, stepping down, ushering in a period of transition. Jean-François Palus, Managing Director of Kering Group, assumes interim leadership. François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, has disclosed the group’s intent to commence the search for a permanent Gucci CEO in the near future, with an open-minded approach to candidates from beyond the traditional realms of luxury fashion. The road ahead for Gucci’s new leadership involves the challenging task of restoring the brand to a path of growth. As Kering‘s largest revenue-generating brand, Gucci’s resurgence is of paramount importance. De Sarno’s immaculate debut collection, a clean sweep of style and substance, serves as a promising stepping stone in this renaissance.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Gucci / Kering