Brunello Cucinelli’s Quiet Luxury
The name Brunello Cucinelli has been, up to now, a well-kept secret in North America. His exquisite cashmere knits, light-as-air suiting and elegant sportswear hand-crafted by Italian artisans, have graced the closets of world leaders, style icons and European executives for more than 44 years – all in a soothing colour palette of sand and pearl gray. It’s the clever detailing that makes clients fiercely loyal to the brand: pockets on sports jackets are lined in cotton fabric and hand-finished with contrasting thread. Jacket sleeves boast actual working buttons cut on a slight bias for easier access. Flip up the jacket collar and you’ll find a tiny navy logo illustrating the academy where the jacket was made in Italy – Mr. Cucinelli’s way of honouring the skilled tailors who handcrafted the garment.
According to Mr. Cucinelli, luxury is something that a lot of companies talk about, but few deliver. “When it’s true luxury, you feel like they have it in their soul and heart,” explains the designer. Our product is highly specialized, so we employ artisans to do most of the intricate details on our garments. We work very hard to keep this Old World artistry alive and provide a place where our people can further develop their own skills.”
Introducing the concept of ‘quiet luxury’. The new generation of luxury brands communicate primarily through word-of-mouth in a whisper. Instead of flashy logos and ostentatious detailing, the ultra-wealthy look to discretion and understatement. It requires a certain sophistication and taste level to know and appreciate brands like Brunello Cucinelli. You belong to an elite circle if you wear this brand, much like appreciating fine wine, art and architecture.
Like his clothing, the story of Brunello Cucinelli is remarkable. Born to working-class parents on September 3, 1953, in Castel Rigone, in Italy’s Umbria region, he dreamed of creating his own company when he saw Italian clothing company Benetton producing millions of women’s jumpers in colourful wool fabrics. Why not do the same in beautiful cashmere? He subsequently started his own business in 1979, and for the first four years, he did everything himself, working long hours into the night sewing and boxing garments. Slowly be built up his business and looked for a larger space to produce his line. He stumbled upon an abandoned medieval town called Solomeo in Umbria, where he bought a crumbling castle. He painstakingly restored it and over the next decade, spent much of the company’s profits buying the remining eleven houses and a church in the town and created a community of small craft workshops where all his clothing is made.
“My father didn’t speak much, because he was not educated. We lived on a farm. But he told me there are two fundamental pillars to a good life: You have to be a serious person and you have to respect humankind.”
Each of Brunello’s 500 employees carries a key to the work premises. No one clocks in and there are no unions. A canteen serves healthy meals. There are free lectures on art, philosophy, architecture and culture in a state-of-the-art theatre. And Brunello schedules regular concerts for the staff and their families.
It’s all part of the designer’s ‘humanistic’ approach to business, one that has lectured on at Harvard and MIT. “I meet with all the employees often to talk about how the company is doing, the profits, my ideas, the stores we are opening. I share everything with them.”
“I want to produce in Italy with major craftsmanship, with major quality control and I hope, major creativity. We could produce in China or Romania, but that’s not what I want.” He’s determined to inspired the younger generation to take up the art of tailoring and hand-sewing garments. “How do we do that? We have to give them more money. We can make it so their job is a noble job, an honourable job. We have to say, ‘you did a good job.’”
The debut of Brunello Cucinelli fragrances
“Brunello Cucinelli perfumes are a hymn to beauty and simplicity. It is the beauty of the earth, of people, of ideas.”
Brunello Cucinelli Man Eau de Parfum
This eau de parfum is a refined aromatic-spicy scent for him composed by perfumer Olivier Cresp. He blends notes of ginger, Calabrian bergamot, with cypress and woods. It’s the cypress that adds a freshness.
Notes: Madagascar Black Pepper, Calabrian bergamot, Nigerian ginger, juniper berry, cypress, Angelica seeds, clary sage, Ambrox, clearwood
Brunello Cucinelli Woman Eau de Parfum
This fragrance is an elegant and understated woody-floral-musk scent for her created by perfumer Daphné Bugey. You’ll notice an homage to Italy in the top notes thanks to Calabrian bergamot and Sicilian mandarin. Orange blossom adds a romantic facet. But we’re most excited by the unexpected addition of chestnut, which has a slightly sweet and creamy aroma. Musk, cedar and vetiver create a beautiful dry down.
Notes: Calabrian bergamot, pink pepper, orange blossom, chestnut, Atlas and Virginian cedarwood, Olibanum, Ambrox, musk
Brunello Cucinelli fragrances will be exclusively available in Canada at Holt Renfrew and holtrenfrew.com