Surveillance and short reins for Gucci. François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, parent company of the Italian brand, sent Jean-François Palus, his loyal right-hand man, to take over as president of the fashion house. On a provisional basis, pending recruitment, the former deputy general manager of Kering, a classmate of Mr. Pinault, is leaving Paris – he will be officially installed in Milan on Saturday September 23 – to succeed Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci since 2015, whose departure was announced this summer, six months after the appointment of a new artistic director, Sabato De Sarno.
The young Neapolitan designer, formerly at Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino, presents his first women’s ready-to-wear collection for Gucci on Friday September 22 during Milan fashion week. He succeeds Alessandro Michele. From 2015 to 2022, this creative genius formed, with Marco Bizzarri, the “dream team” which transformed the Italian brand founded in 1921 in Florence.
“For this new period, Gucci needs a change of leadership,” explained Mr. Pinault at the end of July, during the appointment of Mr. Palus, emphasizing the importance of being “pragmatic” And “very effective from day one”. Even if it means making radical choices.
A few days before this fashion show, the brand destroyed all the publications on its Instagram account, followed by 52.3 million people. According to its management, nothing unusual for a fashion house: it is about “mark the opening of a new creative chapter”, specifies a spokesperson. His account now includes some photos of Daria Werbowy, a former figure of the Celine brand photographed naked for her jewelry collection by a swimming pool, and a portrait of Sabato De Sarno, face closed. His message: “Gucci is an opportunity to fall in love with fashion, again. » “Ancora”, in Italian, a mantra that the brand exploits in its latest publications. But this update of the Gucci account aroused the anger of a number of Instagrammers, who, in comments, denounced the “nonsense” of this marketing operation, see a ” lack of respect “ of the brand towards Alessandro Michele who “saved” And ” a lack of trust ” of the management of Gucci, before demanding his ” back “.
Expected at the turn
Since his appointment in January, Sabato De Sarno knows how much he is expected around the corner. Because Kering maintains the financial objective defined by Marco Bizzarri. The one who, in 2018, swore he could surpass Louis Vuitton claimed to reach 15 billion euros in turnover in the long term. Four years later, the LVMH group brand generates more than 20 billion euros in sales per year. And Gucci, whose sales amounted to 10.3 billion in 2022, after 15% growth compared to 2021, shows signs of weakness: it recorded growth of only 1% in the first half of 2023.
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