It took one single model walking a pathway of light to know Sebato De Sarno was pushing reset on his predecessor’s seven-year run of camp florids. Almost like unplugging a device and plugging it back in again, the new creative director at Gucci seemingly drew on his years at Prada by opening his debut Spring/Summer 2024 show, Ancora, with a long, beautifully tailored black coat—super minimal, save for the red-and-green Gucci stripe at its back vent. Gone were the reams of intricate embellishments and any real likeness to Alessandro Michele’s last show—a sequinned, beaded and print-heavy extravaganza dedicated to his twin mother last September.
This was the new Gucci.
As the models filed out, De Sarno’s modus operandi was cemented: everyday essentials with masterful tailoring: immaculate suiting, little white tees and plain, embossed shift dresses.
A cherry monogrammed leather skirt harked back to Michele’s wardrobe, and yet it was styled with a (divisive) simple grey zip-up hoodie. (De Sarno was plucked from Valentino where he started as a knitwear designer before becoming one of Pierpalo Piccioli’s closest collaborators. The latter was in the front row nursing his dog and cheering on his dear friend of 14 years.)
As the looks were kept to a minimum, chunky platform loafers and accessories became the stars of most. Teeny, tiny shorts—which we also saw over at Tom Ford this week under its new creative director—and unbuttoned blazers drew comparisons to the glamorous years of Ford’s Gucci.
An injection of neon yellow arrived three minutes into the 10-minute show, as did an embellished lapel on a navy knit, and then an embellished bralette on another. And was that a fringed coat? And a glittering tunic? Yes, while these colorful and crystal accents were few and far between, they were sure to give the Michele fans something to quell their sadness for their lost leader.
De Sarno was actually inspired by the university students who populate the streets of Brera, a buzzing and lively neighbourhood in Milan. The show was meant to be staged there but the weather this week in the fashion capital has been a special kind of shocking—raining, storming, hailing even—and so the creative director was forced to make a last-minute venue change to Gucci’s headquarters, where Michele showed for years.
“It’s a story of [the] joy of life, of passion, of humanity, of people, of real life, of irreverent glamour, of provocation, of confidence, of simplicity, of immediate feelings and emotions, of a specific type of art, of words—words in artworks, words in pictures, words in spaces, just words,” De Sarno’s show notes read. “It is a story of fabulous, diverse people; it’s Getty images of cool people of all ages, and it’s inclusive as in everyone is welcomed. It’s a story of movies, of my beloved Italy, of intellectuals and travels around the world but still feeling at home wherever you are.”
Parent company Kering indeed set tall orders for De Sarno; to reclaim some of the falling sales and thus share prices lost in Michele’s extraordinarily chintzy world. And while the latter’s shows were an absolute joy to behold, there truly is something for everyone in De Sarno’s Gucci. And who doesn’t need a factory reset every once in a while?