In the latest earnings call, Jean-Marc Duplaix, the Chief Financial Officer of Kering, the French luxury conglomerate, mentioned that its leading brand Gucci is embarking on a new chapter. The group is continuously investing to help the brand “recover or regain attractiveness, and to recapture market share.”
The past year 2023 was a year of significant change for the century-old Italian luxury brand. In January, it was announced that Sabato De Sarno from Valentino would succeed Alessandro Michele, who left in November 2022, as the new creative director of the brand. In June, there was a major reorganization of the brand and customer engagement teams. In September, Marco Bizzarri, who had been the brand’s president and CEO since 2015, resigned…
Since 2015, under the leadership of Marco Bizzarri and Alessandro Michele, Gucci experienced rapid growth. In just six years, the brand’s annual sales increased from 3.9 billion euros to nearly 10 billion euros. However, growth has slowed in the past two years. This is the fourth change in creative design and top management positions in the thirty years since Gucci ended its era as a family business in 1993 — clearly, Gucci is facing another major turning point.
Luxe.CO Intelligence, a fashion industry research institution under Luxe.CO, has launched the annual luxury brand report “Gucci in 2023.” This report helps industry insiders understand how Gucci, in this transitional year of old and new, maintained its brand presence and voice. What significant changes did the new creative director bring? The effectiveness of these changes will gradually be reflected in Kering’s financial statements over the next 1-3 years and will provide an excellent reference for high-end fashion/luxury brands that are undergoing or planning brand transformation and reshaping.
This report is based on the comprehensive coverage and real-time updates of brand public activity data by Tong.Luxe.CO. It includes 172 major activities that happened to Gucci from January 1 to December 31, 2023, covering retail stores, product innovation, brand communication (including brand exhibitions, fashion shows, cross-border collaborations, pop-ups, culture and art, sustainability, spokespersons, advertisements, etc.), and the supply chain. (*Due to the new creative director Sabato De Sarno clearing the brand’s official Instagram and Weibo accounts of content before September 16 after his appointment, there may be omissions in the report regarding Gucci’s activities before September 2023.)
In 2023, Luxe.CO Intelligence tracked Gucci opening 12 new fashion boutiques globally: 3 in China and 9 overseas. Notably, among the 9 overseas, there were 2 new salon concept stores exclusively for top VICs. Gucci first opened its global flagship salon store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in April, and the second one, also the first in Japan, in Tokyo in August.
As early as the first quarter’s earnings call in February, François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, disclosed the launch of the “Gucci Salon” concept, aimed at “attracting ultra-high-end customers.” Pinault noted, “We (previously) lacked such customers at Gucci, but in recent years (this group) has grown rapidly worldwide,” and revealed, “there will be Gucci Salon spaces in entire floors of large flagship stores, as well as smaller stores.”
In practice, in 2023, Luxe.CO Intelligence tracked 10 Gucci fashion boutiques undergoing upgrades and renovations, including the addition of exclusive spaces for VICs in stores like Shenzhen MixC Mall and South Galena St. in Aspen, USA.
On September 22, 2023, Sabato De Sarno presented his debut show, Gucci Ancora. Before the show, Gucci cleared its official social media accounts, changed its profile picture, and released several pre-show teaser videos. Departing from the distinctive, flamboyant, and colorful “quirky aesthetic” of former creative director Alessandro Michele, Sabato De Sarno’s first collection reintroduced classic brand products and elements such as the Jackie bag, Bamboo bag, loafers, and red and green stripes in a simple, modern, and sleek style.
Moreover, many items, including coats, dresses, handbags, and shoes, as well as pre-show teaser visuals, featured a new signature deep red color. This inspiration also came from the ubiquitous red in Gucci’s historical archives, such as the red decorations in the elevator of the Savoy Hotel, where the brand was founded, and the red lining of the first Jackie bag.
When Sabato De Sarno was appointed in January, he described his vision of Gucci using the term “Italianity.” He said, “It’s a very Italian brand with a long tradition. It has Italian craftsmanship, Italian taste, but we seem to have forgotten this. I want to bring back Gucci’s Italian temperament.”
Sabato De Sarno’s interpretation of Gucci aligns with Kering’s plans for the brand discussed at the 2022 Investor Day. Kering stated that the primary task in reshaping Gucci was to emphasize the classics and strengthen the more timeless elements in the brand’s background story.
After taking over, Sabato De Sarno also led a series of communication events, including:
- Launching the first volume of the “Gucci Prospettive” series publication: MILANO ANCORA
- Handling his first advertising project — the Marina Chain jewelry collection ad campaign, featuring the return of supermodel Daria Werbowy
- Designing the Gucci Ancora space for the Gucci Cosmos exhibition in London
To learn more about Gucci’s important activities over the past year, please click to download the full report.
The detailed contents of “Prada in 2023” are as follows:
About Luxe.CO Intelligence
Luxe.CO Intelligence has been deeply involved in the fashion and luxury sectors for a long time. Leveraging our continuously expanding industry network, data intelligence, and knowledge system, we are committed to providing professional, innovative, and forward-looking consulting services to brands and companies in China and overseas. Our areas of focus include brand revitalization and upgrade strategies, brand content and communication strategies, niche industry positioning and opportunity analysis, and strategies for entering the Chinese market.
View all reports published by Luxe.CO Intelligence: https://luxe.co/page/hlzk
In the past six months, other brand research reports released by Luxe.CO Intelligence include:
“Prada in 2023”
“Chanel in 2023”
“Hermès in 2023”
“Onward in China”
“Maglia in China”
“lululemon in China”
“CELINE in China”
We release multiple original research reports from Luxe.CO Intelligence each month and occasionally hosts industry lectures and forums. For any collaboration inquiries, please feel free to contact us.
Launched on Luxe.CO website and app in early summer 2022, Tong.Luxe.CO is an innovative digital service that tracks daily activities of fashion brands with all-encompassing coverage for China market and selective coverage for overseas market.
The activities covered include product launch, store opening, marketing events, as well as personnel change, financial reporting and other major corporate initiatives.
Through Tong.Luxe.CO, you could find over 2000 entries on average each month about more than 1000 brands in luxury, fashion, beauty, sports and outdoor …, all tagged carefully to facilitate multi-dimensional analysis for further research.