12 things I learned from Gucci’s Sabato De Sarno documentary

By Vogue

Photo: Courtesy of Gucci

We round up the key takeaways from fashion's latest must-watch documentary

Last Friday, Gucci released Who is Sabato De Sarno? A Gucci Story. The documentary is narrated by Gucci ambassador and future Ridley Scott gladiator Paul Mescal and directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost of Paranormal Activity 3 (and 4) fame. It has a 20-minute run-time and will be available to stream on Mubi. (While you’re there, make sure to check out Ira Sachs’s brilliant Passages.)


According to a press release, Gucci plans to host screenings of the short film in “major cities around the globe,” and will also offer it on Apple Vision Pro. Have you dreamed of being behind the scenes ahead of a Gucci show with Paul Mescal whispering in your ear? Well, now’s your chance.

The film not only introduces De Sarno, but also the cast of characters who are now part of his Gucci community. It’s set in the lead-up to his debut runway show in September of last year. There’s Alastair McKimm, who styles the collections, and there’s Mark Ronson, who produced the debut soundtrack. And there are cameos by De Sarno’s friends and family, a plethora of celebrities from Mescal to Ryan Gosling and Julia Roberts to the many others who attended the show, and also members of the Gucci team.

I watched the mini-doc to see what De Sarno and Gucci were up to. Here’s what I learned about the designer.

Sabato De Sarno as seen in the documentary. Photo: Courtesy of Gucci

  1. Sabato De Sarno was born in Cicciano, just outside of Naples in 1983.
  1. He invited his parents and 90 of his close friends and family to sit front row at his debut show. “They come for me, not for the creative director and not for Gucci,” he says, “they come for Sabato.”
  1. He was named Sabato after his grandfather, who was a cobbler. The name means “Saturday,” which the designer says people used to joke about. “Is your mother called Monday, is your father Tuesday?”
  1. De Sarno and his dachshund, Luce, are a package deal. He is rarely seen without his dog, and keeps treats for him at the Gucci HQ.
  1. De Sarno spent his career working behind the scenes. “I’m not born a creative director, I was a design director, an assistant, an assistant’s assistant. I know the process, no?”

The final casting board. Photo: Courtesy of Gucci

  1. He saw a thousand models in six cities over eight weeks to cast just 55 new “fresh” faces for his debut show.
  1. De Sarno moves fast. “He is always in a hurry and he hates to wait,” says Franceso Mari, a consultant at Gucci. A fun fact: The designer once replaced his espresso machine for another that was five seconds faster. “I think other people are slow,” he says. (He sounds like he’d really love New York.)
  1. He works hard and plays hard. De Sarno is described as a party boy, and is constantly seen dancing.

De Sarno had his hallway painted in Ancora red . Photo: Courtesy of Gucci

  1. De Sarno loves the French phrase “fil rouge,” which translates to “red string” in reference to the popular “common thread” metaphor. His fil rouge is what connects the Gucci archive through the years. When he first visited the archive, he gravitated towards a red Jackie bag, the lining of which was a deeper shade of red. And thus, Ancora Red was born.

  2. He loves words. His debut collection, of course, was connected to the Italian word “ancora”, which the designer defines as “something that you love and still want to love.”

De Sarno in the final rehearsal ahead of his debut show. Photo: Courtesy of Gucci

  1. “Sabato stays zen.” He is cool and collected – for the most part. When his show had to be relocated indoors due to rainy weather, he remained calm. “Honestly, it’s okay,” he said, “the most important thing for this event is the collection.”

  2. But he is still an emotional person. He shed a couple of tears during his final rehearsal, thinking about what his parents would think of the special moment. “It’s difficult to control the emotions, but maybe I don’t want to control it,” he says.

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