Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Sabato De Sarno’s Gucci debut was planned for the streets of Brera, near the arts university and the students that make the neighborhood such a lively, vibrant part of Milan. A rainy forecast forced a late-breaking venue change—a hard decision but the right one: the skies opened up half an hour before showtime. It meant we were back at the company headquarters on the edge of town where Alessandro Michele held his Gucci shows, but in every other way that counts, this was a clean break from the brand’s recent past.

When Kering named De Sarno for the job in January, he was an unknown quantity, with the remit of “reinforcing the house’s fashion authority while capitalizing on its rich heritage,” said the press release announcing his appointment. His predecessor had left in November, after a seven-year run that had reversed the fortunes of the Italian heritage label and changed the look of fashion, but ended amid reports of flattening sales and falling share prices.

De Sarno was plucked from the design studio at Valentino, where he rose from knitwear designer to Pierpaolo Piccioli’s closest collaborator over the course of 14 years. His former boss was in the audience today, alongside the likes of Julia Roberts, Jodie Comer, Ryan Gosling, and Paul Mescal. Mark Ronson, who produced the show soundtrack, attended with his wife Grace Gummer. Bad Bunny and Kendall Jenner were both in the crowd, though not together. There was no Jared Leto.

The eccentricity that was central to Gucci’s former era was entirely absent. Instead, De Sarno set out to establish his essentials, focusing on cut and proportion, and repeating shapes for emphasis. The first look was a peak-lapeled coat in a dry charcoal wool, its only embellishment a striped grosgrain ribbon on the inside of the back vent, worn over a simple white tank and black short-shorts with a GG buckle belt.

“I started from the wardrobe,” he said in an earlier interview, “because I felt the urgency to put together the pieces that I like and that I don’t find.” The look was super-leggy: Beyond those tiny shorts, there were patent leather minis and patent leather high-slit A-line skirts, the briefest of duchesse satin party dresses embellished with crystal gridwork, and lace-edged slip dresses barely longer than teddies. De Sarno’s Gucci is closer to Tom Ford’s, with the upfront sex appeal of those ’60s-by-way-of-the-’90s shapes, and straight riffs on Ford hits, like the white going-out top trimmed in neat rows of crystals that he paired with slouchy faded blue jeans and an embellished Jackie bag.

Behind the apparent simplicity, a lot of real-world consideration went into the reinventions. De Sarno used a softer leather for the Jackie bag, added a grosgrain ribbon to the strap, updated the clasp, and put a zipper charm inside, which is lined in Gucci Rosso, his new deep shade of red. It’s a shame about the rain because the street was the right place for this collection.

De Sarno has wiped the slate clean, now he can begin building.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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