We asked the Italian fashion designer what his definition of smart casual is and why he isn’t a fan of black
Interview: Brunello Cucinelli, King of Cashmere
Landing the accolade as “King of Cashmere” is no ordinary feat, and we are eager to find out how Brunello Cucinelli has earned his illustrious title. In a rare occasion where the 58-year-old Italian fashion designer visited his eponymous store in Hong Kong, Cucinelli told us about the winning formula of colour matching, and what is unique about cashmere that has been the centre of his collections since the very first in 1985.
HongKongTatler.com: What are the three things that make Brunello Cucinelli so popular?
Brunello Cucinelli: Quality, creativity and craftsmanship.
HKT.com: What is the winning formula for colour pairing?
BC: When there are some colours in the collection, they should all have a veneer of beige and grey. We also believe that one should wear one single colour at a time, that is when you put on a pair of coloured trousers, you should match them with a neutral blazer and a neutral shirt. Never wear two “coloured” items in the same outfit, because colours should always be paired up with neutral hues like grey, brown or beige.
HKT.com: For a perfect smart casual outfit, what items must one have for mixing and matching?
BC: I believe in the concept of “luxury chic sporty style”, whereby clothes matching can make the difference. For example, a top-notch quality blazer with a special pocket square can be paired up with cargo pants to render a very young and special look. A good fashion concept applies to everybody cross-age.
HKT.com: How can a 58-year-old man like you look good in smart casual as well as business casual attire?
BC: Through the way I dress I would like to look some years younger, not just by keeping fit of course but also by dressing in a contemporary way and as usual in a chic way. That fortunately, also shows that our products are of very high quality.
HKT.com: What’s your fascination with navy blue, beige and gray hues? Why haven’t we seen much of black in your collections?
BC: Our colors are mostly inspired by our traditional painting culture, by the nature surrounding, by our landscapes. If you go to the countryside, you will see the browns, beiges and white - natural palettes that are reflected in the collections. Black is normally overestimated and we’d prefer to use lighter colours in order to give visibility to the details of our creations.
HKT.com: What is one item you wish people would wear more often?
BC: Cashmere sweaters.
HKT.com: You’re called the King of Cashmere – how many pieces in cashmere do you own and why do you like working with the material?
BC: Most of my wardrobe is actually made of cashmere and I like it, because it’s forever! We also create things that you will never want to get rid of, some of our cashmere pieces in fact are meant to be handed down, not thrown away.
HKT.com: Are you trying to revolutionise cashmere?
BC: I choose cashmere because it is a highly specialised product. I wanted to bring cashmere up to date, to transform it from a traditional item into a fashion product, and also make it more desirable for women. I know both men and women like cashmere, but women especially. They borrowed oversized sweaters from the their fathers, brothers and husbands, rolled up the sleeves and wore them almost like a tunic that enveloped their body and accentuated their femininity. We are making sweaters that are “legitimately” for women right from the start.