Can influencers make Gucci cool again? How the brand is repositioning itself in a bid to raise revenue

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

1 month ago

Gucci needs a miracle. Are influencers the answer? The Italian luxury fashion house hosted its Cruise 2025 show at the Tate Modern in London last week. As usual, journalists and celebrities were spotted in the crowd, but more notably, a plethora of global influencers were also invited to the event and afterparty.

Gucci is on a mission to reinvent itself and remain relevant. Its Q1 2024 revenue dropped 21% year-on-year (YOY) as reported and was down 18% YOY on a comparable basis to total €2.1 billion (£1.7 billion), according to its parent company Kering’s most recent report. This was mainly attributed to a decline in sales in the Asia-Pacific region but is a significant issue because Gucci contributes to more than two-thirds of Kering’s profits.

These results show a significant decrease – in 2023, Gucci’s revenue was down 6% YOY. Under Alessandro Michele’s reign as creative director from 2015 to 2022, Gucci’s profits nearly tripled and went from €3.9 billion (£3.3 billion) in 2015 to €9.7 billion (£8.3 billion) in 2021. He made the Italian house a sought-after brand, as its Soho Disco Bag, rubber slides and GG Marmont belt became influencer staples. Following Michele’s exit, Sabato De Sarno became the new creative director in 2023 and the house has struggled to break into the cultural zeitgeist ever since.

It’s apparent that Gucci pulled out all the stops for its Cruise 2025 show in a bid to boost sales and brand awareness. It invited the right celebrities (Paul Mescal, Alexa Chung, Lee Know, Dua Lipa, Kate Moss, Solange Knowles and Rina Sawayama all attended), livestreamed the event on TikTok and had producer and hit-maker Mark Ronson create the show’s soundtrack.

The real stars of the show were the influencers. International creators JeanCarlo León (28.4 million followers), Caroline Daur (4.5 million), Lena Situations (4.6 million), Irene Kim (2.8 million), Aimee Song (7.3 million) and Maria Bottle (3.7 million) were all invited and stayed at The Savoy hotel. There was also an abundance of UK creators in attendance, either at the show or afterparty. This included Amelia Dimoldenberg, Nathan Hopkinson, Callum Mullin, Susie Lau, Emma Winder, Nina Suess and Char Ellesse. Model Mia Regan’s Instagram Carousel about the event has a 6% engagement rate, vlogger Olivia Neill’s Carousel has 3.3% engagement and garden designer Danny Clarke’s post drove 2.1% engagement.

Cruise shows often go unnoticed as they’re not part of fashion week, but De Sarno’s latest collection made a splash because it featured more commercial pieces that consumers are bound to lust after (specifically the horsebit ballet flats and creepers). Journalist Amy Odell attended the show and wrote in her Substack newsletter Back Row: “Do influencers move markets? Well, the stock is up roughly 10 Euros or 3 percent since Monday [13 May].”

Social media was a key element to introducing Gen Z to a new era of Gucci. The house’s TikTok of all 54 resort looks had more than 34.5 million views in one day and a unique transition that showcased the models’ purses has had more than 31.4 million views.

On TikTok, #GucciCruise25 has been tagged in more than 1,300 posts and #GucciLondra in more than 800. Meanwhile, on Instagram, #GucciCruise25 has been tagged in more than 3,200 posts and #GucciLondra in more than 2,800.

The fashion house must continue to leverage the power of social media and creators in order to stand out and compete against brands such as LOEWE, Prada and Miu Miu. If its latest show proves anything, it’s that De Sarno and Gucci are now on the right track.

In the words of Odell: “Can the Influencers Save Gucci? Honestly? Probably.”

By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Caroline Daur via Instagram