Last January, two months after Alessandro Michele shocked the fashion world by announcing he was leaving Gucci, a brand he had transformed into a trendsetter with $10 billion in revenue in 2022, the company named his successor, and that too shocked the fashion world. Who was this man, Sabato De Sarno, who would be stepping into Mr. Michele’s fur-lined, logo-ed Gucci slides?
Little is known beyond basic biographical facts: Mr. De Sarno started his career at Prada before moving to Dolce & Gabbana and then Valentino, where he spent almost 14 years, ultimately becoming the fashion director in charge of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.
Which is why, when I had the chance to sit down with Mr. De Sarno before his first Gucci show, I seized the moment to play 21 questions. Here is what I learned, in edited form, below.
What is your first memory?
I was about 7, in the small village I come from in the countryside, close to Naples. I was on a Vespa with my grandfather, just riding around, talking. He died 10 years ago, and we were very close. I have his name. When the announcement came out about Gucci, it made me very emotional because my father said, “I know Sabato would be very proud to read his name in the magazines.”
What is your favorite food?
Eggplant Parmesan from my mother. She is the best cook in the world. She uses it to convince me to visit her in Como, where they live now. She says, “If you come home, I can make it for you.” And always, she wins. I’m a terrible cook.
What else are you bad at?
I really like to drive, but people say I am a terrible driver. In Rome, I get around on city bikes.