(Reuters) PARIS – Sabato De Sarno, a senior fashion designer at Valentino, has been named creative director of French luxury goods giant Kering's flagship brand Gucci, the company announced on Saturday.
At Gucci, he will be charged with turning around the fortunes of a company that, in 2021, contributed two-thirds of Kering's profits but has recently slowed down after seeing phenomenal growth in 2015–19.
De Sarno, 39, started his career at Prada in 2005 before moving on to Dolce & Gabbana and finally joining Valentino in 2009. He held a number of positions there before being named fashion director, where he oversaw both the men's and women's collections while closely collaborating with chief designer Pierpaolo Piccioli.
A favourite on the red carpet, Piccioli is renowned for bringing a modern twist to the opulent Italian label's brand of glitz. She made headlines, for instance, with head-to-toe bright pink outfits for American singer Zendaya.
De Sarno stated in a statement from Kering, “I am proud to join a house with such an exceptional history and tradition, that over the years has been able to welcome and cherish ideals I believe in. “I'm touched and eager to offer my creative perspective for the brand.
The decision to choose a seasoned but little-known designer with years of experience working behind the scenes is reminiscent of the group's approach when it chose Alessandro Michele as its former creative director in 2002, who had no public reputation at the time of his hiring.
According to Bernstein analyst Luca Solca, “We applaud Kering's action.” Gucci, as well as the Kering shareholders, “require guts and a fresh perspective.”
De Sarno's resume, according to Solca, was comforting. “The world will be watching him to see if he also possesses the necessary creative talent.”