Fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli grew up on an ancient stone farm outside the town of Castel Rigone in Umbria, Italy. It has no electricity or running water and since it is shared for 13 members of the extended Cucinelli family, which can feel a bit crowded. Still, “it was a nice home for me,” said Cucinelli, 68, who has fond memories of playing with his siblings in the kitchen fireplace, and sliding down the stairs to the cowshed first. class time to steal milk directly. source.
In a sense, Cucinelli’s life now, as CEO and creative director of his eponymous fashion brand, is miles away from that farmhouse. However, he says his years there have instilled in him values, a love of family and an appreciation for curiosity and hard work, that he has always held dear. Nor did he go far geographically. About 14 actual miles south of Castel Rigone is Solomeo, a medieval village that has, since 1982, been Cucinelli’s home and, since 1985, his business headquarters. He first visited the town as a teenager with the intention of attracting his current wife, Federica Benda, who was born and raised there. (They first met as passengers on the same school bus.) “I would hang around just to be seen by her,” he said with a smile. Cucinelli founded his brand, starting to produce cashmere and dyed wool sweaters for women, while the couple was engaged, after marriage and after living for a time in the nearby village of Ferro di Cavallo, he joined Benda in Solomeo.
Since then, the brand went public in 2012, and has expanded into most continents and retail sectors, including children’s clothing and home decor, although the brand is widely known. with soft tailored sports jackets that are meticulously handcrafted and especially popular in the Silicon Valley crowd. However, throughout it all, it’s nearly impossible to separate the label from Solomeo. Almost 10 percent of the village people work for the brand to some extent, a pattern reminiscent of early European craft wards. And Cucinelli has also left his mark on the town’s architecture. When he moved there, he renovated Solo’s 14th-century stone castle, which served as the brand’s main office. In 2008, a public theater commissioned by Cucinelli and designed in the style of a Renaissance theater opened in Solomeo – a concert of Handel’s debut is scheduled for March – and he later established an industrial estate for the brand in the valley below town, complete with an olive grove, orchard and vineyard.
A few streets from the center of town, on the edge of a hill, is Cucinelli and Benda’s home, a three-story 17th-century mansion, with its cream façade and terracotta tiled roof, originally built. for an aristocrat. family. This is also a project of Cucinelli. The couple purchased the nearly 250-acre estate, dotted with cypress trees, including a small chapel, in 1990, and Cucinelli eventually spent four years renovating it in the quintessential Umbrian country style. , carefully restored stone floors, vaulted ceilings and wide arched windows. When it comes to rooms, he chooses wooden antiques like carved 16th-century bookcases with Greek columns for the library, a sturdy 15th-century dining room set and upholstered sofas. Comfortable cushions in the same neutral palette. Creams, whites and browns define Brunello Cucinelli’s look. Cucinelli said of thinkers like Vitruvius and Andrea Palladio: “I have tried to remember the words of the great teachers who advised us to listen to the locus of genius, or soul, or spirit of a place. there.
Although Cucinelli didn’t study much growing up, in his adult years he became a carnivore, and more than 3,000 titles line the heavy wooden shelves of his library. The room also had a fireplace and Cucinelli loved to curl up there with a book every night before bed, taking notes as he went. He pays even more homage to his historic heroes through white Carrara marble busts displayed throughout the house and grounds. The library, for example, features figures like Marcus Aurelius, Alexander the Great, and Sappho, while Renaissance men like Galileo and Leon Battista Alberti accompanies the rooftop. Cucinelli has also placed busts of modern men, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Each piece is hand-carved by artist Stefano Giannoni of Pietrasanta, Tuscany, who works with marble from the same quarry that once supplied Michelangelo. The men have been collaborating for 23 years, and now Giannoni has enough commissions from Cucinelli to keep him busy until 2026.
This type of longstanding relationship should come as no surprise to those who know Cucinelli personally. Much of his life is led by consistency, from his daily routines. “Our family has hundreds of rituals,” he said. For example, every Sunday, he wakes up at 6:30 a.m. and walks to a local pastry shop, where he buys a pack of freshly baked pastries for each member of the family: his daughters. He, Carolina and Camilla, and their entire family live within walking distance, as does Cucinelli’s father, Umberto, who turns 100 next month. Cucinelli left a bag on each of their doorknobs, then continued home. Other habits can be traced back to his childhood: He and Federica grow their own vegetables in the villa’s garden, and raise rabbits and chickens. Their grandchildren help collect the eggs, just as Cucinelli did as a boy. In addition, Cucinelli liked to spend the evenings without electric lights. “In the night, I live by candlelight,” he said. “I sit in front of the fireplace in silence and revel in beautiful thoughts.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/t-magazine/brunello-cucinelli-italian-villa.html Brunello Cucinelli keeps chickens and books at his 17th-century Italian mansion