(GUCCI)

Depending on the nature and mechanics of a fashion brand, a creative director has but two key chances to debut—one for a womenswear collection, and one for menswear. Gucci’s return to separate runway shows for its main seasonal collections (since the Autumn/Winter 2023 season) afforded Sabato De Sarno with such a luxury.

Having said that, first impressions are still weighed heavily and critically in fashion. De Sarno’s official debut was Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear collection and it was an expectantly different aesthetic from the House’s previous creative director. Called “Ancora”, the collection alluded to the Italian word’s multiple meanings, mainly “again” (a reiteration of House codes), “more” (a desire that De Sarno wants to evoke) as well as Gucci’s own interpretation, “also now, also then” as a metaphor for the continued reverence of its heritage and the possibilities of the future.

The Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear collection was an aesthetically pared back collection that saw a shift from excessive embellishments to focused cuts and silhouettes. De Sarno envisions a Gucci that relies less on the pomp and circumstance of abject eccentricity. This new Gucci—or is it born-again Gucci?—seemed to take its cues from what a young, modern Italian woman would want in her wardrobe. The collection was a dialogue of what was already happening on the streets albeit elevated and made more luxurious with its use of materials.

It’s inevitable that the receptions were split. Coming off the heels of a predecessor continuously credited with the House’s contemporary revival is no walk in the park, especially when the new direction is far removed from that of the past seven years. But what many fail to understand is that a creative direction isn’t born from just one single collection alone—it takes time to cook.

And cook De Sarno did.

If the Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear collection was an appetiser in De Sarno’s Gucci, the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection is the main course. It is ‘meatier’ with menswear proposals that offer newness without the need to shout, while at the same time, grounded by a sense of approachability. One doesn’t need to be a style maven or have a certain kind of inclination to partake in Gucci any more. There’s a sense of that oft-used adage in fashion: wear the clothes, don’t let the clothes wear you.

Sabrina Elba and Idris Elba. (GUCCI)
Mark Ronson. (GUCCI)
Jay Park. (GUCCI)
George MacKay. (GUCCI)
Lucky Love. (GUCCI)
Kingsley Ben-Adir. (GUCCI)
Elliot Page. (GUCCI)

The show had a rather diverse celebrity guest list that reflected the collection’s more malleable personality. Idris Elba’s imposing stature lent a gentlemanly presence to an all-over GG monogram coat, Elliot Page kept things simple and chic with a tailored base under a blouson, Jay Park bravely showed off chest tattoos by going bare under a bomber jacket (it was still winter at the time of the show), and Gucci campaign star Kingsley Ben-Adir finished his Canadian tuxedo with Ancora red Horsebit loafers. Save for the Gucci-branded elements in their ensembles, everyone looked characteristically different, each wearing Gucci their own way.

That is not to say that the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection lacks a style point-of-view—that’s hardly the case. Like for his debut, De Sarno presented a clean slate focused on impeccably tailored pieces and in colours that aren’t out of the reach of the average man. Tailored trousers are slim and end right at the ankle, effectively lengthening the legs. Suit blazers and coats feature classic, strong shoulders, while other outerwear in the collection have slightly dropped shoulders and are cut decidedly oversized. There’s nary a sneaker in sight; variations of the Horsebit loafers showcase the design’s versatility as it’s manipulated with different embellishments, heels, and outsoles to exude different vibes.

As cliché as it may sound, the devil is in the details. Monochromatic suiting feature intentional deep creases at points where they would have eventually formed with wear. The collection’s defining accessory, De Sarno’s take on the cravat, consists of a long strip of fabric wrapped around the neck and secured by metal hardware. The details continue at the back—outerwear vents reveal Gucci’s signature tricoloured webbing, leather jackets are embossed with “Gucci” at the hem, and even socks give peeks of webbing at the heel.

There is a studied intention in the way that De Sarno executed the collection. The details all call to a more subtle Gucci. Sure, the GG monogram remains a prevalent branding device and appears in a trio of in-your-face looks within the collection, but they are only a small portion and still done very elegantly. The rest of the collection is an emphasis on Gucci’s heritage and leitmotifs that have gone on to become timeless icons.

Speaking of timeless icons, the Jackie bag is reenvisioned in a proportionally more masculine size. The extra-large upgrade retains every single element of De Sarno’s iteration of the Jackie, including the new hook closure that differentiates itself from the piston closure of the Jackie 1961 series as well as the original. It’s clear that De Sarno intends for the hook closure to become a new Gucci signature, much like the horsebit. It is positioned as the aforementioned metal hardware of the collection’s neck accessory and also incorporated into a new leather crossbody bag. The latter is a more minimal version of the Jackie—a similar crescent-shaped silhouette but in a softer construction and without too many frills—with a top zipped closure, taken from the House’s archives.

De Sarno is undoubtedly crafting a Gucci that is centred on timeless elegance. In place of the shock factor that its previous creative director had created time after time—something that eventually became a rather predictable modus operandi—De Sarno is reenforcing Gucci’s tailoring and craftsmanship as well as house icons while introducing new ones. And most importantly, he is priming these signatures to be relevant not just for now but for years to come. Isn’t that a good thing to have once again?

A lot was riding on the Gucci Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection. For one, it's the first menswear collection by creative director Sabato De Sarno; the other reason is that it's a follow-up to a debut that had fashion insiders and fans split. In some cases, the latest effort by De Sarno was similar to his debut, but better—much, much better.

Gucci Ancora took on a slightly different meaning as compared to De Sarno's debut. While the overarching theme of wanting to make people fall in love with Gucci again was apparent, the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection takes it a step further. Embedded into the line-up—starting from the opening look—were a number of ensembles that mirrored the womenswear debut. They're tweaked slightly, but the spirit was essentially the same. Heck, even the Mark Ronson-curated soundtrack (the man was also in attendance) was an intentional repeat.

The difference—and brilliantly so—was that the menswear collection felt more complete. There's no telling how De Sarno felt post-debut of his very first collection, but if any of the naysayers got to him, this collection felt like he was hell bent on proving them wrong.

The fit: Perhaps, De Sarno is a better menswear designer than he is at womenswear. Because the tailoring (a perennial key tenet of any menswear collection, pretty much) was impeccable. Instead of opting for the easy way out by pandering to current style obsessions, the cut of trousers were slim with enough give for a sleek and clean bottom half. The top was left slightly oversized, but proportionally just right such that the flow and fluidity of floor-grazing coats felt dramatic without weighing one down.

Tailoring may have run rampant throughout the collection, but they were anything but staid or stuffy. Print and patterns seem to not be something that De Sarno may be leaning towards—save for the GG monogram—but colours are clearly his specialty (perhaps something that he picked up during his time at Valentino). Surprisingly, the deep shade of red that's becoming a De Sarno signature for Gucci, was not heavily used throughout the collection. Instead, the additional colours employed ran along the same tonal shades as the new Gucci red. This not only added on to the cohesive nature of the collection, but also elevated it to be rather universal across different ages.

That's not to say that there were no statement pieces; in fact, far from it. In place of ties, a necklace-scarf hybrid was the centre of attention consisting of leather pieces connected by metallic hardware with the former attached to a slender strip of fabric. Each swayed as models walked—a sense of romantic flou that was both refreshing and much needed. And if Harry Styles or Måneskin were to return as part of the Gucci fold, they'd certainly gravitate towards the metallic fringed pieces that exuded the kind of gender-fluid sensibility Gucci had made its own.

The details: As predicted, the Jackie continues to be the focus for the House. Rendered in plenty of iterations—albeit kept a tad simpler and less showy than the female versions—including a thoroughly embellished version, the menswear Jackies were constructed significantly larger.

But what wasn't easily seen on the livestream, were the backs of the looks. De Sarno skilfully ensured that the backs of most, if not all, the looks were crafted as beautifully as the front. Some coats featured a hint of the Gucci webbing right on the vent, while leather coats were embossed with "Gucci" right at centre back along the hem. The drapes and silhouettes too felt devastatingly dramatic from the back—of mystique that you'd want a person wearing a piece to walk by again.

Three exceptional looks: Look 5's ultra clean combination of a long sleeveless coat paired with the collection's trousers as well as studded Horsebit loafers; look 13's all-over GG monogram in red; and look 51's sparkly oversized tank that I would very much like to cop immediately.

The takeaway: Don't strike off De Sarno's Gucci just yet.

View the full Gucci Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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The Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show season has already begun. After Pitti Uomo in Florence, Milan Fashion Week Men's will officially kick off with Gucci, marking the menswear debut of creative director Sabato De Sarno. And once again, for the second time, the show is being referred to as Gucci Ancora ("again" in Italian).

The Gucci Ancora women's campaign was just released days ago featuring the Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear collection that signalled De Sarno's vision for the House. Included as part of the campaign were a couple of images of male models in denim jeans, holding on to Gucci Jackie bags. While the official press release explicitly avoided referencing the male models, it's safe to assume that Gucci's Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection will be a continuation of the Gucci Ancora aesthetic—pared back with a reiteration of Gucci elegance in the form of cut and silhouette.

The womenswear debut focused heavily on the Jackie as the bag of the season. The menswear debut could follow along the same vein or continue to refocus the attention on the Horsebit creations—an icon that was the House's key push leading up to the release of De Sarno's first collection.

But for any confirmation, stay tuned for the show this Friday. And for an even closer look at the collection, follow @esquiresg on Instagram as we bring you the action live from Milan Fashion Week.

What: Gucci Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show
Where: Milan, Italy
When: Friday, 12 January 2024 at 10pm Singapore time

Photo by Dior.

K-pop's domination of fashion continues

If there's one trend in fashion that's held strong for years now, it's the hold that K-pop has on luxury fashion. The latest group to be officially named as Dior ambassadors is TOMORROW X TOGETHER, or more commonly known as TXT. The five-piece group made their debut in 2019 and are label mates with another K-pop phenom BTS—the first male group to ever collaborate with Dior Men back in 2019. TOMORROW X TOGETHER's ambassadorship was preceded by their performance at Lollapalooza Chicago on 5 August where Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones created custom looks for their set.

Puma x RIPNDIP: A tale of two cats

Photo by Puma.
Photo by Puma.

Famed for its feline mascot—the regally named Lord Nermal—Los Angeles-based brand RIPNDIP has dropped its collaboration with Puma. It's a fuss-free range of apparel, accessories and sneakers that combine Lord Nermal graphics with distinct Puma branding. On a number of pieces, including a sweat set, Lord Nermal evolves into Puma's cat logo, while he peeks mischievously along the sides of collaborative Puma Slipstreams.

The Puma x RIPNDIP collection is now available at Puma 313@somerset, VivoCity, Bugis+, ION Orchard and Jewel stores, Puma.com, and select Limited Edt. stores.

A look at a new Gucci

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A post shared by Sabato De Sarno (@sabatods)

We're about a month away from seeing newly installed creative director Sabato de Sarno's vision for Gucci. But ahead of the actual runway show that's set to take place during Milan Fashion Week, de Sarno teased a high jewellery campaign for the Italian fashion house on his personal Instagram account. The David Sims-lensed image features Daria Werbowy poolside at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, wearing statement earrings as well as subtly branded Gucci bikini bottoms. Werbowy was part of a 2004 campaign for Gucci during the Tom Ford era, potentially signalling a return to a similar aesthetic—of glossy glamour and sensuality.

Could this be the start of an American conglomerate?

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A post shared by Tapestry, Inc. (@tapestry)

New York-based Tapestry, Inc.—the parent company of Coach—is acquiring Capri Holdings in an USD8.5 billion deal. The latter's portfolio, comprising Michael Kors, Versace, and Jimmy Choo, will be added to Tapestry's existing umbrella of brands that includes Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman. In a press release, CEO of Tapestry Joanne Crevoiserat says: "From this position of strength, we are ready to leverage our competitive advantages across a broader portfolio of brands. The combination of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman together with Versace, Jimmy Choo, and Michael Kors creates a new powerful global luxury house, unlocking a unique opportunity to drive enhanced value for our consumers, employees, communities, and shareholders around the world."

Kenshi Yonezu fronts Loewe's autumn/winter 2023 menswear campaign

Photo by Loewe.
Photo by Loewe.
Photo by Loewe.
Photo by Loewe.

For Loewe's autumn/winter 2023 menswear campaign, Japanese musician Kenshi Yonezu (also known as Hachi) offers a glimpse into his creative impulses. Photographed by Arnaud Lajeunie, the campaign features Yonezu in the collection's standout pieces—including a shirt affixed with metal wings—alongside comic books, novels and memorabilia that have shaped Yonezu. Creative director Jonathan Anderson calls the partnership timely as Loewe celebrates its 50th year in Japan.

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