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2009 October 30

Signor Cashmere: A Moment with Brunello Cucinelli

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Brunello Cucinelli Brunello Cucinelli
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(NEW YORK) Known as a principled and ethical business man, as well as admired for his unparalleled craftsmanship and cashmere products, guests filled the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue to meet Brunello Cucinelli and browse his creations. We sat down with the king of cashmere in Saks last night as he opened up about his Umbrian heritage, how teenagers influence his aesthetic, and his preferred way of relaxing: talking to himself! The department store was too crowded for Mr. Cucinelli to have a heart-to-heart with just himself, and so The Daily was privileged with speaking with the revered Italian artisan.

How has your time in New York been? Any highlights that have struck you with inspiration?
For me watching young people in the streets has always been an inspiration, and contines to be. I pay attention to how young people, usually from sixteen to eighteen years old, pair bright colors and layer--in New York and Japan, especially. The past two days I have spent in New York, I have taken photos in my mind of at least 10,000 people noting the way they looked. When it comes to making the collection, we aim more towards the thirties age range, and always try to create them with great craftsmanship and the highest quality fabric. For us, the color combination is key.

What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in this economy?
I know it’s a tough moment, but it is a lot better than what we had envisioned this time last year. I think it’s positive to know that it’s not as bad as we thought. You start seeing, of course, more people interested in buying. There is more interest for women in buying than men, but this is normal, I think!

Does your childhood continue to influence your design aesthetic?
Yes, of this I am sure. It always plays a big role in the designs and everything I do. My town has never failed to be a source of inspiration for me. Even the atmosphere that we live in our company and all 550 people that work with us, there is a great daily creativity in the air. Creativity doesn’t only come from people that design and give stylistic input; it comes from everybody that works there.

How do you unwind?
I want to make sure everyone knows I’m not a stressed out man! I don’t even like the word "stress," but I work like everybody else so I still do need to relax. For me, I cannot live without books. I go home and read in front of my fireplace, every now and then I smoke a cigar, and I talk to myself! The truly relaxed need a bit of solitude. In our society it’s considered lazy, but the Ancient Romans perceived it as noble because you come up with the best thoughts when you can actually sit down for a minute and reflect.

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