Milan men’s fashion week | Gucci unveils its first men’s collection by Sabato De Sarno

(Milan) The Italian luxury house Gucci opens the Men’s Fashion Week ball in Milan this Friday, with the highly anticipated first men’s collection, signed by its new artistic director, Sabato De Sarno, called to the rescue to give a new momentum to the claw.

These shows also mark the great return of Fendi, which preferred during the last edition in June to present its men’s collection in the workshops of its new leather goods near Florence.

Men’s fashion week, dedicated to the fall-winter 2024/25 collections, offers a total of 74 meetings until Tuesday, including 27 fashion shows and 32 presentations.

Sabato De Sarno, who had spent fourteen years at Valentino after a stint at Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, was appointed in January 2023 by the French luxury group Kering to revive the flagging sales of its flagship Italian brand.

Far from the eccentricities to which his predecessor Alessandro Michele had accustomed fashionistas, this 40-year-old Neapolitan designer presented his first women’s collection for Gucci in September, focused on classic elegance.

While this collection has only been on sale since early 2024, Gucci, which accounts for more than half of Kering’s sales, saw revenue fall 13% in the third quarter in a slowing luxury market.

“Gucci is in a transition phase. Alessandro Michele’s creative reinvention yielded excellent results, but customers eventually “got tired of it,” Luca Solca, an analyst at Bernstein, told AFP.

“Today, Gucci must find new energy and new ideas to excite consumers,” he notes.

” Preppy “

And when are the first effects of the arrival of the new stylist expected on sales?

“The transition from Alessandro Michele’s maximalism to Sabato De Sarno’s ‘good chic, good style’ seemed a little abrupt to me,” Mr. Solca confided.

“I doubt that, based on what we saw in September at the women’s shows in Milan, Gucci will be able to regain its momentum, especially with Chinese consumers. We need more,” he judges.

“Gucci works when it’s excessive. As we saw with Tom Ford”, one of its former emblematic stylists, “and his communication very loaded with sensual allusions, or with Alessandro Michele, with the explosion of creativity which doubled the sales of the brand,” explains the expert.

Around forty employees of the Gucci style office, a major workplace for designers and couturiers, observed a four-hour strike at the end of November and demonstrated against their transfer from Rome to Milan, fearing “a disguised collective dismissal”.

Since then, “no agreement has been reached by the unions with Gucci, which negotiated directly with those who felt forced to leave, but production has not been affected by this conflict,” he told AFP. Chiara Giannotti, union representative.

Moderate growth

Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna… the big labels answered the call for the Milanese men’s week. But there were also defections, like that of Valentino, who returned to show in Paris, and Etro.

Men’s fashion “was relegated to second place for years. But today, it is developing, in particular because the big brands are paying it much more attention,” summarizes Luca Solca.

After a strong rebound of 20.3% in 2022, following the coronavirus pandemic, the Italian men’s fashion industry recorded more modest growth in 2023, of 4.9%.

The entire Italian fashion sector saw its turnover increase by 4% last year. After a strong first quarter, its activity plunged by 7.2% in September, in a context of strong geopolitical tensions.

“These are not years of frenetic growth, but at this moment it is important to hold on and we will hold on,” assured Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian Fashion Chamber.


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