Brunello Cucinelli: ”Whenever I’m designing, I think about excellent quality, craftsmanship and creativity, but it is also important that the clothing reflects the subtle and sophisticated lifestyle we are trying to uphold and create.Every time you see one of our garments, I’d like that you are able to see how people used their hands to make each piece and see the simplicity with which something was done by the people in our town, so that everything from where it comes is reflected in the final product.”
In November 2010 Cucinelli received a flattering honorary degree in Philosophy and Human Ethics from the University of Perugia, moment which he considers as one of the most important in his life. Known also as the ”king of cashmere”, his brand has established itself in a category of its own. Much like his collections, his stores are elegant, warm and simple. He also has a unique philosophy in regards to his employees, especially those working in Umbria where the cashmere products are made. When asked about what sets his company apart from other luxury brands, he said:
”Everyone who works for me has a key to the premises. I mean that they have the keys, they come and go when they want and no one has to clock in. And they work as if they were at home. In fact, they actually work inside houses, those of the medieval hamlet at Solomeo on the road leading to Lake Trasimeno, where our centre of operations is situated. It was a beautiful place that had been completely abandoned. In 1987, with my first earnings, I bought a small part: the remains of an old castle for very little money. I bought the last part a few years ago and naturally I had to pay much more. I restored everything, but didn’t modernize it. I left everything as it was: the eleven houses divided into small apartments, the church, the castle. And this is where we work, surrounded by eight centuries of history”.
Recently, Brunello Cucinelli, revealed that, in the last 2 years, the emerging countries only represented 3% of its sales, which is very little when compared to its competitors and associates in the luxury business. This year, Brunello Cucinelli is counting on an increase of 15-18% in operations in India and China.
Those two countries, a true eldorado for European luxury brands, thus have Cucinelli’s full attention at the moment. The brand has just opened 2 boutiques in luxury shopping centres in Dalian and Chengdu. Another 5 sales points are expected to open in China this year, and 20 in the next 5 years. The flagship stores will probably be launched in Shanghaï and Pékin in time for the Autum/Winter 2011/12 season. Brunello Cucinelli will be working in partnership with the Chinese company Lessin from Chengdu, led by Jacky Chen.
The fashion designer reflects on the success of his brand over the last few years, since its creation in 1978. “Today, we must redefine the meaning of luxury. It must retain a certain feel of exclusivity. Each person wants luxury for him or herself, but not necessarily to be seen. Furthermore, affordable luxury does not exist, although some wanted to believe it did. If that was the case, it would not be considered luxury anymore”, he explains.
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