Did Gucci Just Hire The Most Mysterious Man Alive To Replace Alessandro Michele?

Where in the world is...Sabato De Sarno.

Why be chronically online when you could be mysterious?

That’s clearly the modus operandi Gucci’s newly appointed creative director, Sabato De Sarno, took when he entered the industry almost two decades ago.

De Sarno’s announcement comes after the legendary Alessandro Michele left the maison in November 2022 after seven years at the helm.

Michele was known for his signature reverent and maximalist aesthetic, with many fashion fantastic curious to see what direction Kering would take the house in through the appointment of his successor.

If Gucci’s atelier-led minimalist Fall/Winter 2023 menswear collection is any hint at what De Sarno will bring to the maison, it’s definitely a departure from the effervescent and whimsical tone that Michele set.

However, what is more enigmatic than the direction De Sarno will take for his debut collection (which will take place during Milan Fashion Fashion in September) is the fact that very little is known about De Sarno.

In the era where one’s entire internet search history can be conjured at the click of a button, the designer’s presence on social media and contributions to the fashion industry are almost non-apparent.

To clarify, we’re not saying that De Sarno is not qualified for the role, nor hasn’t contributed to the success of major luxury maisons (he does have quiet an impressive resume, after all).

But, in the context under which the fashion landscape is operating—see: a designer’s portfolio has their own dedicated Instagram account—it’s interesting to see Kering opt for such an unknown name for the top position.

Did Kering really just promote the most mysterious man alive for the role?

Ahead of De Sarno joining the line up of former creative directors (Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele), we round up everything to know about the designer.

Sabator De Sarno for Gucci (Credit: Riccardo Raspa)

Who Is Sabato De Sarno?

The 39-year-old Napoli designer will be responsible for the maison’s designer studio and responsible “for defining and expressing the House’s creative vision across the women’s, men’s, leather goods, accessories and lifestyle collections”.

As per a joint-press release from Gucci and Kering, De Sarno will commence his tenure at Gucci “as soon as he will have completed all his obligations in his current role.”

Speaking on the appointment, De Sarno said in the press release: “I am deeply honoured to take on the role as Creative Director of Gucci. I am proud to join a House with such an extraordinary history and heritage, that over the years has been able to welcome and cherish values I believe in. I am touched and excited to contribute my creative vision for the brand.”

But who actually is De Sarno?

Having cut his teeth in the ateliers of Prada and Dolce & Gabanna, De Sarno has been a protégé of Valentino creative director Pierpalo Piccioli since joining the maisonin 2009.

Working under Piccioli and Dior’s creative director for womenswear, Maria Grazia Chiuri (who worked at Valentino from 2008 – 2016), De Sarno’s career progressed from a style coordinator of men’s collection, to the fashion director of men and women’s ready-to-wear.

Given that De Sarno’s appointment comes at a particularly explosive time in the industry—the shake ups at Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton are testament to that—no doubt all eyes will be on Gucci (Kering’s crown jewel) come September.

A look from Gucci’s SS23 Womenswear ‘Twinsberg’ Collection. This was Alessandro Michele’s last collection for Gucci. (Credit: Source: Getty)

Where Can You Find Sabato De Sarno’s Designs?

While Sabato De Sarno has never released a collection under his own eponymous label, we can only look to the recent collections at Valentino for a glimpse at his design ethos.

Contrasting to Alessandro Michele’s artfully maximalist and cerebral designs, De Sarno may follow in stead with the stripped-back evolution Gucci enlisted for their first designer-less menswear show this year.

But with De Sarno’s first collection off the bat being womenswear, we wonder if we will see any remnants of Michele’s impact in his work—the show’s front row will be the first clue.

Does Sabato De Sarno Have Instagram?

Sure, the vibe check and mysterious girl aesthetic has reached even the upper echelon of fashion, but don’t think that De Sarno is exempt from having his own Instagram account.

However, if you thought following De Sarano meant exclusive insider glimpse inside the atelier, you’d be sadly mistaken.

Instead, you’d find a curated feed filled with musings on famous artwork and photography, including Jurgen Teller’s iconic portrait of a pink-haired Kate Moss or slightly erotic imagery. Clearly, we will be seeing the effects of sensual dressing linger over at Gucci.

Sabato De Sarno is the name on fashion’s lips. Till September…

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