Gucci appoints De Sarno as creative director with the task of reviving the brand
© Reuters. A Gucci sign outside a store in Paris, France, January 27, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Files
By Silvia Aloisi and Mimosa Spencer
PARIS (Reuters) – French luxury goods group Kering (EPA:) has appointed Sabato De Sarno, a couture designer at Valentino, as the creative director of flagship brand Gucci, it said Saturday.
At Gucci, he will be tasked with revitalizing the fortunes of a brand that accounts for two-thirds of Kering’s profits by 2021 but has lost momentum in recent years after massive growth between 2015 and 2019.
De Sarno, 39, started his career at Prada (OTC:) in 2005, before moving to Dolce & Gabbana and then joining Valentino in 2009, where he held several positions before being appointed. As fashion director overseeing both men’s and women’s collections, working closely with lead designer Pierpaolo Piccioli.
A red carpet favorite, Piccioli is known for adding a contemporary flair to the famous Italian label’s lavish glamor style, creating buzz such as with its bright pink look from scratch. to the feet for American singer Zendaya.
“I am proud to join a home with such an extraordinary history and heritage, which for many years has been able to welcome and cherish the values I believe in,” De Sarno said in a statement. Kering. “I am thrilled and delighted to contribute my creative vision to the brand.”
He will present his debut Gucci catwalk collection at Milan Women’s Fashion Week in September 2023.
Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri said that having worked with some of Italy’s most famous luxury houses, De Sarno “gives him a wide and relevant experience.”
The selection of a seasoned but relatively obscure designer with years of behind-the-scenes experience echoes the team’s strategy of appointing previous creative director Alessandro Michele, who has no track record. public profile at the time of his appointment in 2002.
“We welcome Kering’s decision,” said Luca Solca, analyst at Bernstein. “Gucci – and Kering shareholders – need courage and an original perspective.”
Solca notes that De Sarno’s record is reassuring. “All the eyes of the world will be on him to see if he is the necessary creative genius.”
Gucci has been under pressure to quickly appoint someone to one of the top jobs in fashion following the sudden departure in November of Michele, who was known for his flamboyant and liberal style. character, and is the favorite character of singers Harry Styles and Lady Gaga.
He did the job for seven years but left after tensions with Kering’s senior management, sources told Reuters.
Together with Bizzarri, he oversaw Gucci’s massive growth period from 2015 to 2019, with profits nearly quadrupling to nearly 10 billion euros ($11 billion) and revenue nearly tripling.
But in recent quarters, Gucci has begun to lag behind rivals including Hermes and LVMH’s flagship brand Louis Vuitton, with its performance in key China becoming a concern. investors in the context of the blockade due to COVID-19.
Kering will release full-year results on February 15.
Investors will be keen to know how businesses are doing after Beijing lifted COVID restrictions late last year, leading to massive infections and disruption to business across the country.
LVMH and others said sales had recovered somewhat ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
But Kering’s stock has been the worst performer of the big luxury brands and has lagged behind the Paris and pan-European indexes over the past three years.
Shares are up 10% since January 2020 compared to more than 100% gains for LVMH and Hermes.
($1 = 0.9202 euros)
(This story has been tweaked to correct the spelling of the word ‘subtle’ in the fourth paragraph.)