Gucci’s interim phase without a creative lead has come to an end. On Friday Kering announced Sabato De Sarno as the brand’s new creative director, with his first collection to debut during Milan’s September fashion week.
In a statement Kering said Mr De Sarno will report to Marco Bizzarri, Gucci President and CEO, with the responsibility for defining and expressing the House’s creative vision across the women’s, men’s, leather goods, accessories and lifestyle collections.
In what is one of the most coveted creative roles in the industry, Mr De Sarno cut his teeth at Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, before joining Valentino in 2009. Here, working closely with Pierpaolo Piccioli, Mr De Santo rose to the role of Fashion Director for men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, helping to shape Valentino into one of the most desired and commercially astute brands of the past decade.
A second ‘unknown’ appointment at Gucci
Mr Bizzarri has a knack for finding strong designers who are largely unknown outside of the industry. Perhaps preferring the worker bees to the queen bees, avoiding personalities that come with an overt aesthetic familiarity. When appointing Alessandro Michele in 2015, he was similarly an unknown designer, but it proved a canny choice when it came to Gucci’s growth and revamped relevance.
That momentum has lagged in recent years, and as Kering’s star brand, two-thirds of its turnover is logged at Gucci, there is pressure from the Group to shake things up. Especially as Saint Laurent and Celine are yet to hit the 10 billion euros mark.
The quirky gender inclusive collections favoured by Mr Michele had also waned in popularity, and along with slowing sales in China, it appeared as if this creative era had plateaued.
Mr Bizzarri said in a statement that Mr De Sarno’s “vast and relevant experience and distinctive vision will help write this exciting next chapter.”
Naples-native Mr De Sarno said: “I am deeply honored to take on the role as Creative Director of Gucci. 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.”