Read the complete review on the Gucci Fall 2024 menswear show, which was presented in Milan, and catch a glimpse of the collection.
“I read some critics in September who said: ‘Oh, he just did a commercial collection for the brand: blah blah blah.’” Sabato De Sarno pulled no punches in a preview, and—while riled by last season’s snipings—he declined to let that rhetorical turbulence affect the course of his menswear debut at Gucci this afternoon.
If anything, De Sarno leaned into the headwinds of blah blah blah and dared them to do their worst. Last September’s show was originally due to be presented on the streets of Brera as a mise-en-scène. Rained off at the last minute, it was relocated to a hastily built black box at Gucci’s Milan hub. He liked the unintended black box so much—“because you had to focus on the clothes”—that he rebuilt it elsewhere for today’s show. We had the (nearly) same soundtrack. “And I opened the show with the same coat, the same silhouette, the same bag.” Model gender apart, what was different were the pants (instead of hot pants) and the loafer/brothel creeper hybrids (instead of platform loafers). De Sarno was doubling down—he called it “mirroring”—and challenging us to reflect upon what he gave us in September and now, with fresh variations, here.
Much of that blah blah blah is the consequence of contrast with the Ha Ha Ha that came before De Sarno. His predecessor not only wore his creative heart on his sleeve—those collections were decadent, saturated with ornate eye-candy and flourish—but he threw in twins, straitjackets, severed head replicas, Sir Elton John, and Harry Styles.
De Sarno is a subtler animal. “I don’t care about the Instagram moment,” he said. Instead, from the laptop pockets and grosgrain key loops in his backpacks to the bonded-leather linings in outerwear via the delicately rounded toes of those brothel creepers and the new shadow effect on the GG monogram, he is a details man, a purist. An outerwear geek—“every time I buy a new coat it’s like I’m giving myself a hug,” he said—De Sarno relished cutting Gucci’s coats with a single central vent sliced up almost to the shoulder in order to allow the pieces to flow and swoop with the models’ movement (even in double faced leathers). He took particular pleasure in the iridescent shine reflected in the finish of his faux-fur topcoat and caban.
As he put it: “I’m not a person that loves the idea of fashion. I really love fashion. I love to design pieces. I love to choose materials. I love to work with fabrics. I love to work with our customers, and find solutions. I am a working creative director. I don’t just spend the day telling my staff ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like that’ and leave them to do it. That would be easier, but I would find it boring.”
Milan was where De Sarno says he first felt at liberty to manifest his identity. The silk choker clasped scarves, crystal collars and vests, and heavy metal necklaces were all worn interrogations of the societally conventional. They echoed the questions posed by Lucky Love on the Mark Ronson produced soundtrack’s new addition, entitled Masculinity. The deep indented creases in the legs and waist of his narrow-cut one-and-a-half breasted suits were irreverent Fontana-adjacent challenges to tailoring’s fourth wall. The enlarged Jackie bags with extendable shoulder straps for slinging were inspired by the totemic tote worn by Samuel Beckett on his travels through Italy. There was lyricism here, but to parse it you needed to stop scrolling in order to scrutinize. “Italianity. Artisanal. Good taste. Beauty. I don’t have a narrative [for my collections] at the moment,” said De Sarno: “I have words.”
A glimpse at the Gucci Fall 2024 menswear collection
Originally published in Vogue.com