Brunello Cucinelli

Brand Portrait: Brunello Cucinelli

Philosopher and Cashmere King

He is known as the "King of Cashmere", as an expert in fine cashmere clothing - but the Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli is much more than that: a philosopher. Humanist. Philanthropist. Patron. An incorrigible idealist with a tendency towards the aesthetic - as well as the down-to-earth. A well-read entrepreneur with humanistic ideals and principles who is at least as enthusiastic about the intellectual greats of classical philosophical history as he is about what happens on the catwalks of the fashion scene - and who, despite all his success, has never forgotten where he comes from.

“From rags to riches”: This memorable symbol of the idea of reaching success and prosperity from the very bottom through hard work and creativity is actually known as the “American Dream.” Brunello Cucinelli, however, realized this dream of great advancement not in the USA, but in a completely different part of the world: in Italy!

Growing up in a rural farming area in the province of Perugia in Umbria, he learned early on to live with scant resources: in his parents' house there was neither electricity nor running water and everyday life was characterized by hard work in the fields.

But perhaps it was precisely this spartan life without any luxury or excess that spurred Brunello Cucinelli to use his limited time on this planet to develop skills, seize opportunities, overcome hurdles and face challenges, to make dreams come true... in short: to make the best of the circumstances and of himself.

At the same time, it may also be an explanation for the fact that Brunello Cucinelli is committed to the vision of “humanistic capitalism” with a lot of passion. He even dedicated an entire book to this topic ("Il sogno di Solomeo. La mia vita e l'idea del capitalismo umanistico"). Brunello Cucinelli's approach that every business activity must be based on a solid basis of humanistic values was influenced not least by memories of his father's everyday work. After the Cucinelli family left country life behind and moved to the city, his father earned his money as a factory worker - under less than pleasant circumstances:

"I remember once again how painful it was to listen to the humiliations that my father used to bear in the factory and to see his teary eyes, and how such pain has turned into the firm rejection of any offence to the dignity of people. My moral imperative was to never fail to respect human values, a tenet that I still constantly abide by."

Experiences like these may explain that Brunello Cucinelli has a strong sense of justice. “Only the just man is happy”: This sentence of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates is one of Brunello Cucinelli's mottos - and he tries his best to fill it with life every day. Of course, this works best for an entrepreneur in his own company, where he can directly put his personal ideas of a good and fair working life into practice:

"I imagined making profit, indeed, but based on ethics, dignity and morality, trying to give form to the fascinating relationship between “profit and giving back” that made me feel, in my own small way, as a custodian of Creation."

But before this vision could become reality, Brunello Cucinelli first had to complete a few milestones in his life. After his family moved from the country to the city in search of new life prospects, he got to know urban life there for the first time - and with it the Italian coffee bar, which he found fascinating. Among other people, there were many students visiting the coffee bar; some of them studied philosophy.

They liked to have lengthy debates in the coffee bar, similar to a classic “coffee house” - and the young Brunello Cucinelli listened spellbound. It was the first time he heard of names like Schopenhauer, Hegel, Kierkegaard or Kant. And even though he initially understood little about them, the topic captivated him. He began to study the great classics of philosophy - and over time became an ardent fan of great thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Confucius, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Hobbes and Locke. So great is his admiration and reverence for the ancient philosophers that he even dedicated busts and statues to some of them, which today adorn the Italian town of Solomeo and his property there.

So Brunello Cucinelli came to philosophy by visiting coffee bars. But how did the philosophy-loving young man from the countryside become the Italian "king" of cashmere fashion? It was his current wife Federica who awakened in Brunello Cucinelli this second great passion of his life. He met her at the age of 17. Federica lived in the small village of Solomeo, which is still the center of the Cucinelli universe today. Her father ran a textile and household goods shop there - and one day Federica opened her own clothing boutique. With Federica, Brunello Cucinelli also got to know - and appreciate - the world of fashion. "I often went shopping with her," he remembers, "and that’s when I started getting intrigued by the world of fashion. By then, I was on the brink of my rebirth."

After Brunello Cucinelli ended his engineering studies early at the age of 24 and turned to studying the old masters of philosophy, he initially worked as a model for a sportswear company - and gained his first professional experience in the fashion industry.
In 1977, he began a project in a small workshop that would become a very big thing over the course of his life: He had the unusual idea of dyeing cashmere wool in eye-catching colors. The idea, which was actually simple but still unusual at the time, turned out to be a stroke of genius: It was the birth of one of today's most successful Italian luxury fashion companies...

Among fashionistas, Brunello Cucinelli is widely known as a manufacturer of exquisite cashmere clothing. But did you know that Brunello Cucinelli also has a small collection of fine perfumes? We are pleased to be able to present these cashmere-kingly fragrances to you here in our online shop!