Less than two months after the sudden departure of creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci has tapped Italian designer Sabato De Sarno as his successor.
Michele's departure in November sent shockwaves through the fashion industry, as he was often credited with breathing new life into the label with his daring collections, often very flowery and playful. The move quadrupled revenues to a cool €10 billion ($10.8 billion), although the label still lagged behind rivals Louis Vuitton and Dior.
Michele worked with the brand for 20 years, seven of them as creative director.
"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," De Sarno said, following an announcement by parent company Kering.
"I am touched and excited to contribute my creative vision for the brand."
Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, said: "With Sabato De Sarno at the creative helm, we are confident that the House will continue both to influence fashion and culture".
De Sarno will lead Gucci's Design Studio and will report to the fashion house's chief executive Marco Bizzarri.
His role will be "defining and expressing the House's creative vision across the women's, men's, leather goods, accessories and lifestyle collections," Bizzarri said.
“I am certain that through Sabato’s deep understanding and appreciation for Gucci’s unique legacy, he will lead our creative teams with a distinctive vision that will help write this exciting next chapter, reinforcing the house’s fashion authority while capitalising on its rich heritage.”
De Sarno will present his first collection for Gucci at the Milan Fashion Week in September.
Who is Sabato De Sarno?
Like Michele when he was promoted from the in-house team in 2015, De Sarno is a relative unknown in the wider fashion world, having worked primarily behind the scenes.
Born in Naples, he began his career at Prada in 2005, then moved to Dolce & Gabbana. He joined Valentino in 2009, where he held several positions before being appointed fashion director overseeing both men's and women's collections, working closely with the chief designer Pierpaolo Piccioli.
— Additional reporting by AFP and Reuters