Sabato De Sarno gucci collection debut Tom Ford Alessandro Michele

Sabato De Sarno’s GUCCI debut was an incredible return to form for the iconic luxury brand

De Sarno’s refreshing new vision was truly a gift for longtime followers of the Italian label.

It’s been three days since Gucci presented its long-awaited first collection by creative director Sabato De Sarno in Milan, and I cannot imagine a more perfect return to form for the iconic Italian luxury brand.

De Sarno — who came to Gucci from Valentino, where he worked closely with Pierpaolo Piccioli for 14 years — called his debut Spring 2024 collection “Ancora,” which means “Again.” His first collection for the brand was sexy, classy and contemporary — exactly what a modern Gucci should be.

Some highlights throughout the very leggy show of essentials, aside from the wide range of very short shorts, were a modern assortment of party and lace-slip dresses, jewelled bras, amazing everyday jackets and coats, Jackie bags and an incredible new platform loafer, which was presented in over 10 colours. (If there was a standout or flagship piece from the collection, in my opinion, it was those shoes, and they will undoubtedly be popular.) All the models wore pieces from Gucci’s new Marina Chain jewellery collection, including chunky gold earrings, bracelets and necklaces. The Gucci striped ribbon was visible when it needed to be, without being overbearing. All this was beautifully complemented by the accompanying music, a pair of tracks by Romy (“Loveher”) and Mark Ronson featuring Lykke Li (“Late Night Feelings”) that paired beats, feminine vocals and lush arrangements.

In a way, it was a perfectly subtle collection, more reminiscent of the Tom Ford era of Gucci, or even that of Frida Giannini — pre-Alessandro Michele. (Ironically, Tom Ford also released the label’s first collection by their new creative director Peter Hawkings on the same day.)

It’s important to note the distinction between the Tom Ford era (1995–2004) and that of Alessandro Michele (2015–2022). While Tom Ford’s Gucci was about the complete look and vibe of a collection, Alessandro Michele’s was about individual pieces.

Gucci was the sexiest luxury fashion brand during Ford’s tenure, with Ford referring to the overall look as “sexy, sensual, fuck-me clothes.” A Gucci collection by Tom Ford was like a dream — you couldn’t help but be infatuated with the universe he created. You wanted to look like and dress like the models, to achieve the vibe of the collection. By contrast, Alessandro Michele’s Gucci was more eccentric, focusing on relatively random assortments of spectacular individual pieces. The collections were interesting overall, however only a handful of times throughout Michele’s time as creative director did I feel an attachment to any of the thousands of looks he created.

This isn’t meant to discount the Alessandro Michele era of the brand. I am fortunate to own numerous items from his time at Gucci and they are without a doubt some of my favourite pieces today. But his design strategy doesn’t work long-term for arguably the most prestigious luxury fashion brand in history.

Of course, as always with social media, the most negative voices are often the loudest, and some instant reactions to last week’s show, made within minutes or in some cases seconds of seeing any number of looks, seemed especially uninformed. The almost immediate accusations and comments on social media denigrating Gucci’s new direction were callous, despite the fact that the collection was arguably exactly what the brand needed and more. One in particular, “Gucci by Zara,” felt almost laughable, considering Zara will end up copying this collection, as they do with half of the top luxury brands — that is their actual business model.

I am very excited to see the future of Gucci with Sabato De Sarno at the helm, and will be eagerly awaiting his first menswear collection in January.

Our favourite looks from the show have been placed below, followed by the official show video. To explore the complete collection, please visit the Gucci website.

Sabato De Sarno’s GUCCI debut was an incredible return to form for the iconic luxury brand

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