MILAN — Greetings from Milan Fashion Week, where the rain has, quite literally, dampened the proceedings, throwing off the plans of many brands who planned to present their collections outside, including Diesel, Moncler and Gucci.
That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a pivotal week for Italian fashion. Most interesting were the designer debuts at Gucci and Tom Ford, which made for an interesting juxtaposition: Peter Hawkings’ first collection as Tom Ford’s creative director, influenced by his great mentor Mr Ford’s 1990s-era take on Gucci, came the night before Sabato de Sarno staged his debut outing for Gucci itself.
So, who did Gucci better? That’s been the key topic of conversation over the last 24 hours in Milan. De Sarno’s offering was a clear move away from the whimsical Gucci of his predecessor Alessandro Michele, but his ability to share a clear vision for the future of the brand was disadvantaged by a last-minute location change (yes, the rain) from the streets of Milan’s bougie Brera district to a big box at the company’s Via Mecenate headquarters.
But one should never judge a designer on their first outing alone — especially for a brand the size of Gucci, where moving parts are many. Anyone entering such a big role should be given the time and space to develop and roll out a vision over more than a season. I am looking forward to seeing more of De Sarno’s vision for Gucci in the months to come. (For more on De Sarno’s debut, read Tim Blanks’ take on the new Gucci).
As for Hawkings, his debut collection was quintessential Tom Ford, and that also meant quintessential Gucci by Tom Ford, as that was where Ford first laid down the DNA that set the fashion industry alight in the 1990s and which he ultimately baked into his own label. When you have worked with someone like Ford for so long (25 years!) as Hawkings has, how do you know where your mentor’s ideas ends and your own creativity starts? I had a chat with Peter about this and much more for The BoF Podcast. Stay tuned for that next week.
The BoF Podcast
Meanwhile, this week on the podcast we delve into the world of modelling.
Increasingly, the most successful models are taking control of their careers by bypassing the agency gatekeepers and creating direct relationships with clients.
This week, I sat down with the veteran modelling agent Chris Gay to discuss the shifting power dynamics of the modelling industry and why building a community and developing a real point-of-view is the key to long-term success.
Now, I’m off to Donatella’s Versace show, so I have got to run! More on Milan fashion week in the links below, and don’t miss Tim Blanks’ take on Sabato de Sarno’s Gucci here and Robert William’s feature on emerging fashion brands below.
Imran Amed, Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Business of Fashion
Here are my other top picks from our analysis on fashion, luxury and beauty:
1. Milan, Day One: The Elegy and the Ecstasy. A solemn Fendi and a rave-y Diesel were both, in their own ways, studies in extremes, writes Tim Blanks.
2. The Miuccia-ness of Prada, the Gucci-ness of Tom Ford. Brand DNA is marketing speak until it isn’t, as the latest Prada and Tom Ford collections proved.
3. Luxury Shoppers Are Sobering Up but It’s Not All Bad News. Appetite for luxury is becoming universal, while the sky’s the limit for the top end of the market, writes Luca Solca.
4. Case Study | The Essential Brand Marketing Guide. Building emotional, even inspirational, connections to a product is more critical than ever in fashion and beauty. In today’s hyper-competitive, crowded environment, marketing strategies that make brands stand out and stay culturally relevant need a mix of old and new tactics.
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