The fashion industry is oftentimes described as a cold and distant business, where fierce individuals claw their way to the top. However, no matter how big one’s name has grown, the person behind the label is still human. Although they’re known primarily through their work, a lot of the names the industry knows and loves had their own individual stories that lead them to create their brands. Chanel, for example, got her idea of a more relaxed wardrobe for women from her lover’s clothes. Relatively, Lanvin started her clothing brand by design outfits for her daughter. In the same vein, Brunello Cucinelli’s love for his wife Frederica is what led him to start his own namesake label.
The Makings of the Brand
Born on September 3, 1953, Bruno Cucinelli was born to a modest family near the Perugia area in Italy. He initially wanted to become an engineer, choosing the field as his major for his university studies. However, at age 24, Cucinelli dropped out of school. He eventually met Frederica, his future wife who ran her own clothing shop in the 1970’s. Through her clothes and products, Cucinelli got the idea of starting his own knitwear business. In 1977, he started dyeing wool and sold pastel-hued knitwear to various customers in the region. He officially opened his eponymous company a year later in 1978.
Soon, the fashion crowd started to take notice of Cucinelli’s work. His radically-colored knits became a hit among many, from the rural communities to the fashion capitals of Italy like Milan, Rome, and Florence. The comfortable yet eye-catching garments from the company led them to launch a full-blown ready-to wear line. They started with womenswear around the 1980’s then ventured into menswear in the 1990’s. Although the label offered various garments, almost all of them were entirely of knitwear, upon the behest of the founder. In 2012, Cucinelli was able to list the company in the Milan Stock Exchange.
Unique Mark in Fashion
The company can be defined by its two categories, their knitwear line and their luxury ready-to-wear. Sweaters were what started the company, made out of the finest wool manufactured by the business. The label initially focused in giving a new spin on the classic sweater, ultimately dyeing it to offer them in varying colors. Before Cucinelli, sweaters were only available in neutral tones, from white, ecru, and beige to black and navy. When the Bruno Cucinelli opened in the late 70’s, suddenly sweaters were available in pink, green, yellow, etc. By the early 2000’s they were selling over 200,000 sweaters annually, becoming a giant in the knitwear industry.
They’re ready-to-wear line has also become a huge selling point for the company. Similarly to other Italian fashion brands, Cucinelli offered tailored pieces fit for the modern wardrobe. Some were refined and elegant, perfect for evening galas and formal occasions, while other had the signature softness and ease, just right for lounging around. Whatever piece they created however, Cucinelli insisted that all the clothes would be knitwear, and were also made with the fabrics they created. Throughout all their products, they featured their signature wool and cashmere, their own indelible mark as a true luxury brand.
While their name might not be as flashy as contemporaries like Armani and Prada, a lot of high-profile people still buy and wear their products in public. They’ve amassed a faithful following of A-list celebrities and prominent personalities to be the face of their brand on the street or on the red carpet. Such fans include actress Jennifer Garner, who’s been spotted not only wearing the company’s signature sweaters, but also a bag as well. Other actresses such as Jessica Alba and Blake Lively have also been seen wearing Brunello Cucinelli, not to mention socialite personalities Nicky Hilton and Olivia Palermo.
For the men, actors Bradley Cooper and Leonardo Dicaprio have sported Cucinelli on the red carpet many times, from awards shows to the premieres of their films. Robert Downey Jr. of Iron Man-fame has worn casual pieces from the brand on the streets. Similarly, Ryan Reynolds has also been spotted the label’s products, including a snapshot of him holding a Cucinelli bag while on vacation with his wife. Wearing his own designs himself, the founder has also become the face of his own brand. Twice each year, during Florence’s Pitti Uomo men’s fashion shows, Cucinelli hosts lavish dinners while wearing his own designs, making his face as known to the public as his name. In 2017, Esquire magazine named him one of the top ten best-best dressed men alive.
Having been inspired by his wife Frederica, Bruno Cucinelli built a fashion empire beloved by customers around the world. His company’s devotion to giving out the most comfortable pieces money can buy has been embraced by many, especially in contrast the more rigid and restricting fashions the industry has embraced as well. For him and his company, the material is as important as the garment, and comfort is as needed as much as couture is.