Sabato De Sarno Unveils Gucci Precision Saturated in Color to Close Milan Fashion Week

 A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
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Sabato De Sarno Unveils Gucci Precision Saturated in Color to Close Milan Fashion Week

 A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)

It’s been creative director musical chairs at some of Italy’s top fashion houses, and the pressure is showing, at least on social media.

Gucci’s Sabato De Sarno presented his third collection in Milan on Monday, still the most highly anticipated runway show of the week as Gucci undergoes a major style transition.

Hours earlier, Valentino, the fashion house that snapped up his predecessor Alessandro Michele, launched images on social media of Michele’s first resort collection for Rome-based Valentino, which previews its collections in Paris. Commentators couldn’t help but notice the similarities to his Gucci years.

Anyone with complicated family dynamics can understand just how fraught the timing was. Gucci is owned by the French conglomerate Kering, which has a 30-percent stake in Valentino, an important but not determinant share. Add to that, De Sarno is a Valentino alum, whose recent resort collection included a pussy bow that was one of the codes Michele brought to Gucci.

Michele's runway debut for Valentino is expected in Paris for womenswear previews in September.

Some highlights from the fourth and final day of Milan Fashion Week, mostly menswear previews for Spring-Summer 2025:

Gucci saturates precise silhouette Sabato De Sarno’s sophomore menswear collection for Gucci was all about precise silhouettes saturated in color. A long, acid-green bonded leather coat over thigh-baring shorts and a netted shirt set the tone for an outing that was both rigorous and edgy.

Models strode through the atrium of Milan’s Triennale design museum, in tribute to De Sarno’s view of museums as "nourishing" spaces. In that vein, he invited 400 fashion students to watch the show, and was meeting with them afterward. Part of the brand’s relaunch has been moving to spaces away from the sprawling Gucci Hub on Milan’s outskirts, as De Sarno lays claim to Italy’s fashion capital one venue at a time.

His Spring-Summer 2025 collection featured wearable elements easily composed to one’s desire, reflecting De Sarno’s wish "that people feel free and welcomed in my clothes."

Amid the structure of the bonded leather jackets and crisp poplin suits, there was a lot of movement, in undulating, vivid repeating prints of surfers and dolphins on boxy bowling shirts, shimmering beaded fringe jackets in shades of lemon or lime, and long-sleeve hand-knit polo shirts sparkling with embedded sequins. A subtle jacquard was a rare sign of the Gucci logo.

Fresh styling conceits included chunky sunglasses that, when not worn, could be strapped backward around the neck with a brightly colored Gucci cord. Highly constructed bags were inspired by archival luggage, and include detachable pieces. Sneakers and scuba slip-ons featured molded soles.

Media-shy De Sarno said in press notes that the collection "speaks about freedom."

"I feel free when there is no distance between my words and my thoughts, between my actions and my heart,” he wrote.

Serena and Venus Williams serve up some Gucci De Sarno has the full endorsement of Serena Williams, who sat in the front row between Kering boss Francois-Henri Pinault and her sister Venus.

“It was a beautiful collection. I think Sabato is a great designer,” Serena Williams said backstage. “Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Williams, dressed in a pretty peach suit with a sparkly knit top, was joined by sister Venus, wearing a Gucci Pantone red leather coat. Venus also showed up at JW Anderson's show Sunday night. Also on hand was Irish actor Paul Mescal, keeping cool in striped shorts and a GG monogrammed blue dress shirt.

Giorgio Armani's North Star There has been one constant at the Giorgio Armani fashion house for the last 49 years, and that’s Giorgio Armani.

His looks are a steady evolution of the relaxed tailoring that has characterized his fashion empire.

Soothing hues set the mood for the Spring-Summer 2024 collection, where the loose, often pleated, trousers were the star. Jackets were worn open, and shirts were often collarless or with casual shawl collars. Silken trousers featured big side pleats, billowing with each step. Small slit pockets provided utility. Vests added a ruffian flair, with or without shirts. Scrunchy sun hats were packable.

Models walked slowly, deliberately, on a runway surrounded by video images of tropical plants — a motif of the season. Some smiled, as the designer has urged in recent seasons.

Turning 90 next month, Armani remains firmly at the center of his fashion group, launched in 1975, and is always on hand to take a bow after his shows.

This round, he was joined by his long-time right-hand-man Leo Dell’Orco, who heads the group's men's style office, and Gianluca Dell’Orco, head of Giorgio Armani men's styling office.

Russell Crowe was front row for the show at Armani’s Milan theater. Clad in jeans, the actor said he was jet-lagged and wanted to be comfortable. He may well have spotted something from the runway that fits that bill.



80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
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80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)

L.L. Bean created it 80 years ago to haul heavy blocks of ice. Now it's a must-have summer fashion accessory, The Associated Press reported.

The simple, sturdy canvas bag called the Boat and Tote is having an extended moment 80 years after its introduction, thanks to a social media trend in which they're monogrammed with ironic or flashy phrases.

New Yorker Gracie Wiener helped get it started by ordering her humble bags from L.L. Bean monogrammed with “Psycho” and then “Prada,” the pricey Italian luxury brand, instead of just her name or initials, and posting about them on Instagram. Then others began showcasing their own unique bags on TikTok.

Soon, it wasn’t enough to have a bag monogrammed with “Schlepper,” “HOT MESS,” “slayyyy” or “cool mom.” Customers began testing the limits of the human censors in L.L. Bean’s monogram department, which bans profanity “or other objectionable words or phrases,” with more provocative wording like “Bite me,” “Dum Blonde” and “Ambitchous.”

Social media fueled the surge, just as it did for Stanley’s tumblers and Trader Joe’s $2.99 canvas bags, which were once selling on eBay for $200, said Beth Goldstein, an analyst at Circana, which tracks consumer spending and trends.
The tote’s revival came at a time when price-conscious consumers were forgoing expensive handbags, sales of which have weakened, and L.L. Bean’s bag fit the bill as a functional item that’s trendy precisely because it’s not trendy, she said. L.L. Bean's regular bags top out at about $55, though some fancier versions cost upward of $100.
“There’s a trend toward the utilitarian, the simple things and more accessible price points,” she said, and the customization added to the appeal: “Status items don’t have to be designer price points.”

L.L. Bean’s tote was first advertised in a catalog as Bean’s Ice Carrier in 1944 during World War II, when ice chests were common. Then they disappeared before being reintroduced in 1965 as the Boat and Tote.

These days, they’re still made in Maine and are still capable of hauling 500 pounds of ice, but they are far more likely to carry laptops, headphones, groceries, books, beach gear, travel essentials and other common items.

Those snarky, pop-oriented phrases transformed them into a sassy essential and helped them spread beyond Maine, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and other New England enclaves to places like Los Angeles and New York City, where fashionistas like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker are toting them — but not necessarily brandished with ironic phrases.

“It’s just one of those things that makes people smile and makes people laugh, and it’s unexpected,” said Wiener, who got it all started with her @ironicboatandtote Instagram page, which she started as a fun side hustle from her job as social media manager for Air Mail, a digital publication launched by former Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter.

The folks at L.L. Bean were both stunned and pleased by the continuing growth. For the past two years, the Boat and Tote has been L.L. Bean’s No. 1 contributor to luring in new customers, and sales grew 64% from fiscal years 2021 to 2023, spokesperson Amanda Hannah said.

The surge in popularity is reminiscent of L.L. Bean’s traditional hunting shoe, the iconic staple for trudging through rain and muck, which enjoyed its own moment a few years back, driven by college students.