Sabato De Sarno served up more of the same for Gucci Cruise 2025 

Sabato De Sarno served up more of the same for Gucci Cruise 2025 

by Ollie Cox
5 min

Since London was revealed as Gucci’s 2025 Cruise show location, anticipation surrounding what Sabato De Sarno could bring to the table began to build. Last night, the speculation came to an end as showgoers were invited into the Tanks of the Tate Modern as De Sarno unveiled his fourth collection for Gucci, persevering in the face of criticism, most notably surrounding Gucci’s falling revenue to serve us more of the same. 

Yesterday’s Tate Modern show space juxtaposed the museum’s imposing concrete with a purpose-built garden, and was located across the river from The Savoy. The prestigious London hotel was where Guccio Gucci worked as a porter, familiarising him with the needs of the travelling luxury consumer – the target audience of last night’s big budget Cruise presentation. In a Guardian interview leading up to the show, Sabato shared what London meant to him. “To me, [London is] a place where people are sharing energies and ideas, no matter where they are from,” later stating that he liked “personalities that speak about something contradictory, that bring together what seems distant and make it work.” The latter statement concerned an image of Princess Diana wearing a varsity jacket over a belted pencil skirt and black top. But, where was this on the runway? 

What we did get was a nostalgic look at London in the 1970s, where wool check coats, oversized Harrington jackets, and suede coats dominated the outerwear offering. There was daisy embellished denim, and dresses were worn with heavyweight leather jackets followed by fishtail floating dresses in an array of pastel colours, where mustard and lilac were sandwiched together in a blatant contrast – this was the tension we saw played out on the runway. The platform Horsebit loafers of previous collections were swapped for chunky soled brothel creepers and joined minimalist ballet flats, which were swallowed by baggy denim. 

Sabato’s experience as a pattern maker at Prada – where consistently strong silhouettes teeter on the fringes of minimalism – and his contribution to Dolce & Gabbana’s glamorous luxury, feel like the perfect match for Gucci’s bold glamour, but they were difficult to spot on Monday. To be fair, the donkey jacket domination that unfolded did feel like a nostalgic snapshot of London style. It felt like an Italian-tinged nod to those flicks of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg on Berwick Street, where a “pre-pints and chit chat” Blue Posts stands as strong as ever, but is this where Gucci misses the mark? While the collection aimed to achieve a romanticised italo-infused take on ‘70s Soho style, it failed to come close to De Sarno’s predecessor, Alessandro Michele’s refined romantic maximalism. 

At a time when the Kering brand’s revenue is down by 21%, which it attributes to a decline in foot-fall, Sabato’s ‘70s nostalgia lacks the rebirth and risk-taking many feel Gucci needs. Unlike its competitors, no Gucci items made it onto the Lyst Index for Q1 of 2024, but with the reintroduction of the ‘70s Blondie bag, Sabato’s wearable style could be a step towards re-growing the brand’s IT status. 

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Fair play, Gucci managed to pull in a crowd, with Paul Mescal, Andrew Scott, Daisy Edgar-JonesKate and Lila MossDua Lipa, and Kaytranda all on the front row, reflecting De Sarno’s astute celebrity marketing strategy. As models traversed the concrete Tanks of the Tate Modern to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “The Power Of Love,” those of us familiar with All Of Us Strangers couldn’t help but think about the tear-jerking ending scene to the film, cementing Gucci’s ability to speak to a broader audience through its positioning in wider popular culture. But beyond its celebrity ambassadors, we’re left with the question of who Gucci designs for and who the Gucci customer is. From the clothing, it is hard to tell.

Sabato De Sarno’s Gucci Cruise 2025 show offered a nostalgia-drenched dive into London’s fashion past amidst a challenging set of circumstances for Gucci. De Sarno persevered with his pared-back approach, where contrast dominated the collection. It felt like a continuation of De Sarno’s Gucci, which has proven divisive, and, in the wake of yesterday’s show, looks to do more of the same. Was it a risky change in direction designed to breathe a new energy into the brand in an effort to boost revenue? No. Instead, we saw Sabato bunker down and continue with his conservative vision for the House. 

Cover Image courtesy of Gucci ©

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