Sabato De Sarno follows his heart

Gucci creative director Sabato De Sarno called on people to “Follow your heart” this season, which is exactly what he did in this concise, sexy and elegant collection that is sure to dispel suggestions that the Florentine brand is in trouble long-term.

Gucci – Fall-Winter 2024 – 2025 – Women's fashion – Italy – Milan – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Far from it, based on this collection, where Sabato stayed true to his purple vision for Gucci – even appearing in purple Doctor Martin boots when he said hello – and his goal of elevating the brand.

Each fabric seemed a little more expensive than those used by his predecessor Alessandro Michele, making the atmosphere smell much more rich.

Plus, given all the quiet luxury of recent seasons, one sometimes wondered in Milan and Paris: Do any of these models ever sleep with anyone? Not at Gucci, where Sabato's lingerie looks, slip dresses and barely-there cocktails competed for attention. And he shouted toilet.

“Find a small subversive gesture,” Sabato suggested in his notes, which is exactly what he did throughout this show.

Her sense of tailoring was surgical and occasionally sizzling: slit skirts, wrap dresses and coats that rose suggestively to the thigh. The blouses were almost completely unbuttoned and there were at least a dozen bras on display. The shoes were often platform moccasins with horse buckles, or wonderful new riding boots, respecting the house's equestrian tradition.

Gucci – Fall-Winter 2024 – 2025 – Women's fashion – Italy – Milan – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

It all took place inside Fonderia Carlo Macchi, a rusty foundry in the north of Milan, where Gucci held its men's fashion show last month. But this time it is used in a much more professional way. Instead of spotlights following the boys in the dim light, this runway display placed the cast on an elevated silver metal catwalk, accentuating the feeling that they all had six-foot-long legs.

Starting with a slit safari blazer that was barely longer than the accompanying miniskirt, and pairing it with thigh-high boots. Even when De Sarno went long, he cut corset-like cocktails or showed off lace camisole tops over pocketed skirts cut to the thigh.

For evening, the designer went into high gear with a grand display of evening coats exploding in crusts of sequins and beads, atop pink sequin cocktails, open to the butt.

All completed with sleek, sturdy gold jewelry, from chunky bracelets to chic retro acetate cat-eye sunglasses. Best of all was the sheer number of new bags: from a nappa GG Milano with a perforated logo to a crescent-shaped bag with an equestrian motif.

Gucci – Fall-Winter 2024 – 2025 – Women's fashion – Italy – Milan – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Sabato bowed widely, and the entire Gucci and Kering staff and a phalanx of pampered celebrities gave him a standing ovation. All the editors sat in their seats, but at least they applauded enthusiastically. He's not a home run, but he is a winning performance from a house that still feels pretty tense, given his most recent numbers. Gucci's revenue fell 2% in 2023 to €9.9 billion.

The designer did not accept interviews and his backstage was closed to the media, which was never a positive sign.

Before the show in Milan, a slight anti-French sentiment could be felt in the city, as chatty fashionistas snickered that Paris-based Kering's double elimination of Gucci's former designer and CEO, Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzarri, it was an instinctive Gallic decision that would be counterproductive. Well, one can abandon that idea after this exhibition, which showed a designer in great control of his studio and determined that his vision was going to be put into practice.

It all seemed like a rush to make a decision about Sabato's reign, long before he had completed his first year. Schadenfreude for babies. Kering clearly supports Sabato: an elegant store is already opening in New York this month; Gucci Ancora purple-painted double-decker buses in London; Trams did the same in Milan.

In short, after this excellent show and clear statement, despite the detractors, Gucci seems to be growing again.

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