“The starry heavens above me, and the moral law within me,” is the philosophical phrase from Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason. That was the spark that inspired 68-year-old Perugian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli.
“Kant was the start of my philosopher’s journey. And at around 25 years of age I had the idea for coloured Cashmere,” says Cucinelli. “I wanted to start something new and different, unlike my father who was forced to work in back-breaking conditions. I wanted to work for the dignity of man.”
Brunello Cucinelli: Fall-Winter 2022 Men’s Collection
The men’s fashion line, which has been showcased this January on a digital platform for Milan’s Camera Nazionale della moda, is inspired by an urban world in motion. The Italian fashion Maison calls the collection a crossing point where different interpretations of an everyday style can intersect. It’s where culture moves from tradition according to contemporary needs, freer without forgetting the past.
As in a journey, style and occasions influence each other, creating the right balance for the evolution of elegance.
Comfort, dynamism and softness are the values that cross all fabrics and volumes to create a precious balance of elegance and comfort. Around the tailored lines of the jacket, which enhance the male physique, all the elements develop enveloping, soft shapes. They combine contemporary dynamism and refined style.
Materialism to Metaphysics
Just as Cucinelli is prepared to discuss fabrics and textiles, which can cost well over $2,000 Canadian for a Cashmere sweater and well over $5,000 for a suit, so too is Cucinelli ready to delve into his personal philosophy.
“I see this moment as very particular for humanity. Personally, I don’t call it a crisis but we are redesigning humanity. I believe the pot of gold is arriving. We are investing in great ideals that fascinate me, our parents and grandparents that in the end spells politics, family and religion. And I find an expanding world growing in culture and economics.”
Brunello Cucinelli’s $500 loan blossomed into millions
Born in the small Italian village of Solomeo (Province of Perugia) in1953, Cucinelli grew up in a house with no plumbing and electricity. When he caught the fashion bug in his mid-twenties, he took out a $500 loan to make a handful of Cashmere sweaters. From there he built his fashion line to an international $500 million a year company.
His fashion line has also attracted Hollywood celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio. In addition, Forbes magazine in 2019 listed Cucinelli as a billionaire.
“I have the impression that if someone has to buy something, they also want to know how it is made. Profits, moral ethics and dignity. I want to create better work conditions that allow better creativity. Great craftsmanship, quality and creativity.”
I have the impression that if someone has to buy something, they also want to know how it is made.
Cucinelli: Too much work steals from the soul
Workers’ wages are reported to be higher than the norm in the textile industry. Cucinelli has also added perks to his staff, like a fully paid 90-minute lunch break.
Moreover, for Cucinelli, working overtime is forbidden. “Working too many hours will steal your soul,” says Cucinelli. “Live according to nature as it could be the last day of your life. But plan as if you were living for humanity.”
Pitti Uomo scrapped
Due to the pandemic and the recent spike in COVID cases, for precautionary reasons, the Brunello Cucinelli Maison will not take part in the next Pitti Uomo.
Meanwhile, as scheduled, the sales campaign for the Men’s Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection has been launched. It will also see a medical center with the possibility of swabs for customers and collaborators in the showrooms in Milan, New York and Shanghai.
“We believe it is a decision that is the fruit of a healthy awareness of the current moment that Italy and the whole world are experiencing. We also believe that it is a choice made with a sense of responsibility towards that path undertaken in recent months that we all hope will lead us as soon as possible to the normality of life and human relationships.”
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Images: Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (National Chamber of Italian Fashion)