My next focus will be Milan and the next series of subjects are, well, 3 of them directly related to the world of Italian fashion and one who is a master artisan and would fit into any fashion capital of the world.
Today the focus is on Sabato Russo, the designer of his eponymous brand. Signor Russo may have his fashion roots steeped in the world of men’s fashion but he has been a presence in the business of fashion for decades. For some, names like Cerruti, Barneys, Radaelli and Mandelli will resonate and indicate that this man has been a sort of anonymous power house during his long standing and continuing career.
Whether or not the name is familiar to you is not as important as the fact that Russo is well known among the cognoscenti of fashion. Today he resides in Bari and we are all lucky enough to be able to “get inside his head:” for a moment in time …..
1-What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
LOVE JACKETS, THEY ARE LIKE HAND BAGS FOR MEN, MY FAVORITE IS AN OLD JACKET IN BROWN VELVET, WORN SO OFTEN IT COUL BE CONSIDERED TOTALLY DESTROYED BUT LIKE SOME PEOPLE IT GETS BETTER WITH AGE.
2-What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
HONESTY, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING. I AM VERY BLESSED WITH A FEW CLOSE FRIENDS SPREAD OVER THE WORLD, WHOM I LOVE VERY MUCH, THEY ARE LIKE FAMILY TO ME……I LIVED IN 3 CONTINENTS BUT WE MANAGE TO STAY CLOSE.
3-What is your bliss?
RELAXING HOME IN THE COUNTRY SIDE IN PUGLIA WITH MY BELOVED FAMILY AND PETS...PURE LUXURY.
4-What is your guilty secret?
WILL NEVER TELL ANY ONE.
5-Where is your ideal home?
WHERE I LIVE NOW IN A MASSERIA (OLD FARM HOUSE) IN THE HILLS OF MY BEAUTIFUL PUGLIA (VALLE D’ITRIA SOUTH ITALY) IN BETWEEN JONIO AND ADRIATIC SEA… MAGICAL.
6-If you could not be a designer/retailer/etc.: what would you be
A CHEF. I LOVE TO COOK EXPECIALLY FUSION FOOD (ITALIAN ORIENTAL)
7-What is on your bedside table right now?
AN ANTIQUE BUDDHA STATUE, 2 BOOKS, 1 ABOUT MARLON BRANDO AND THE OTHER IS LE PETIT PRINCE DE SAINT EXUPERY AND AN ETHNIC LAMP AND 2 ANTIQUE BOXES.
8-What do you wear to bed?
BOXER AND TEE SHIRTS OR NOTHING AT ALL. NO PYJAMAS FOR ME.
9-What if any, book are you reading now or last read?
IN THIS MOMENT IN MY LIFE I LIKE TO READ FANTASY BOOKS AND COOK BOOKS ESPECIALLY KOREAN CUISINE, MY LATEST CHALLENGE.
10-What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
WHERE YOU SEE PROBLEMS SEE SOLUTIONS. DO NOT EVER GIVE UP IN WHAT YOU REALLY BELIEVE.
11-Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
INSPIRATION IS EVERY WHERE FOR ME, IN NATURE, IN PEOPLE AND DEFINETELY IN MY EMOTIONS WHICH CAN SET UP A MOOD IN MY DESIGN. ABOVE ALL THE “SARTORIALITA”OF THE 30’S AND 40’, KEY WORD ELEGANCE. MY LAST COLLECTION WAS INSPIRED BY CLARK GABLE.
12-What is the best advice you ever received?
OGNI LASCIATA E’ PERSA (EVERYTHING YOU LEAVE IS LOST) FROM MY FATHER. MISS HIM SO MUCH, HE ALWAYS HAD THE RIGHT WORDS FOR EVERY SITUATION.
13-In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
CORPORATE, BORING, MASS PRODUCTION.
14-If you were a retailer, would you wear your own designs or shop in your own store? or where would you shop?
THAT’S EASY, I’VE MADE MY OWN CLOTHES SINCE I WAS TWENTY. SUITS ARE MY ARMOR.
15-If you won a $200,000,000 power ball (lottery), what is the first thing you would buy or do?
BUY A HOUSE IN PARIS AND NEW YORK, INVITE ALL MY FRIEND FOR A BEAUTIFUL VACATION SOMEWHERE FABOULOSE AND DONATE SOME TO PET SHELTERS.
16-If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
RUSSEL BRAND, MODIGLIANI, MICHEL OKA DONER AND MY LIFE PARTNER ANTHONY C. VARALLI (I DO NOT THINK HE WOULD EVER FORGIVE ME IF HE WAS NOT INVITED) EVEN THOUGH THAT WOULD MEAN MISSING ANNA MAGNANI THE QUEEN OF EMOTIONS.
17-What is your favorite movie /or movie star?
WITHOUT ANY DOUBT ANNA MAGNANI, ITALIAN NEO REALISM.
18-What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
THIS COULD BE A VERY LONG ANSWER.
19-Whose opinion do you value most and why?
MY COMPANION ANTHONY C. VARALLI, I LOVE HIS PRAGMATISM AND MY SON GIULIO, HE IS AN INCREDIBLE JUDGE OF CHARACTER.………
20-What store or which designer do you most like to shop in or wear?
I LOVE TO SHOP IN TOKYO AND IN VERY FEW MULTIBRAND SHOPS IN PARIS, FOR THE REST I THINK THAT FROM NEW YORK TO ROME ALL THE SHOPS ARE THE SAME. I AM A MENS WEAR DESIGNER SO I MAKE MY OWN CLOTHES.
21-What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
LOVE PAPER MAGAZINES BUT I MUST CONFESS I AM ADICTED TO INTERNET.
22-Do you have a dream collaborator?
YES I DO, MY COMPANION ANTHONY C. VARALLI.
23-What is your crowning achievement thus far in your career?
COSTUME DESIGN OPERA AND MOVIES, SPIKE LEE “MO BETTER BLUES”, CARMEN WITH MAESTRO LORIN MAAZEL AND THE FREEDOM TO DECIDE WHERE TO LIVE AND WORK AND TIME TO SPEND WITH MY LOVED ONES.
24-What’s your music library like?
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT MY SON GIULIO ORGANIZE FOR ME, IT IS AN ECLECTIC MIX FROM CLASSICAL TO THE LATEST HIP HOP FUSION. IF IT HAS SOUL AND HEART I LOVE IT.
25-What and where is your favorite meal?
ORIENTAL AND ITALIAN FOOD, MEDITERRANEAN COUSINE, SHOANN IN OSTUNI, CHICHIBIO IN POLIGNANO A MARE, PESCHERIA DUE MARI IN SAVELLETRI (THE BEST RAW FISH IN THE WORLD) U CURDUNN IN LOCOROTONDO. STILL LOVE OMEN IN NEW YORK AND LA COUPOLE IN PARIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON… MY LIST COULD BE VERY LONG BECAUSE I LOVE FOOD.