MILAN, ITALY [JANUARY 17, 2015] – Brunello Cucinelli’s showroom is a beguiling world hewn in shades of beige, mountains of cashmere, and menswear of a conventional aesthetic crafted by sublime manufacture with a price to match. It feels unreal, unless your bank balance is too. “I made a decision to do everything ‘made in Italy,’ of exceptional quality, and to be in luxury—so this is the world I inhabit,” Cucinelli said at his Fall presentation. “But I don’t want to be snob about it.”
And to his credit, neither Cucinelli’s clothes nor his point of view carries any hint of snootiness. His central tenet (apart from quality) is a considered irreverence for the sartorial codes. Match the trousers of a 180-gram cashmere puppy-tooth suit with the plain gray one-and-a-half double-breasted jacket of another? Why not? Wear your cashmere jogging pants and hoodie under a blazer or a double cashmere overcoat and, says Cucinelli, you will look perfectly appropriate in a business meeting.
The suiting here was soft of shoulder, slim of cut, and skirted just low enough to not count as bum freezers. Cucinelli’s formal trousers have an alchemic formula that somehow allows them to look like smart, slimming “slacks” but to move with supple elasticity. Cucinelli is seen more as an entrepreneur than as a designer, but when he was asked about the word “Lemmi” in the label of his jacket, he described a 30-year back-and-forth with a tailor named Augusto Lemmi. Cucinelli wanted his jackets slim but to feel loose, with the look of a double-breasted when buttoned but no wings when undone. Over the years he and Lemmi, now 84, worked it out.
Cucinelli’s belief is that apex-quality goods are rare in a market with a broad middle of mediocrity and, thus, will always be in demand. His demilitarized greatcoat and shearling duffle are particularly ravishing exponents of that in this collection. “If you want to eat a peach, you want it to be a good peach,” he reckons. Even a sliver would do nicely.