Brunello Cucinelli, the “philosopher-designer” founder and CEO of the eponymous Italian luxury fashion brand ends the year 2020 on a positive note; two positives in fact. First, the bells of the Town Hall of Norcia, in Umbria, began to toll for the first time since the 2016 earthquake. It was rebuilt with help from Brunello Cucinelli and other benefactors. The second positive is that the Brunello Cucinelli brand has the honour of inaugurating this year’s Pitti Uomo Digital.
The Brunello Cucinelli brand, which counts Jeff Bezos among its clients and admirers, is an extension of its founder. Its products are all hand-made in Italy from the finest selection of materials from around the world. The company’s headquarters is not in Milan or Rome but in a restored medieval hilltop castle in the village of Solomeo, in the central Italian region of Umbria.
The publicly-traded company with a market capitalization of around two-billion Euros is not driven by a profit motive, but by what its founder calls a “humanistic enterprise.” This philosophy, in a nutshell, calls on business to include social, humanistic and moral values in its enterprise.
As a commitment to these values, Brunello sold six per cent of his shares in the company and donated the proceeds to charitable causes. This is in addition to the company donating around 20% of its profits to philanthropic causes, which include the restoration of several works of art and historical structures throughout Umbria region. One of these was the restoration of the bell tower of the historic town of Norcia.
In August 2016, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake and numerous strong aftershocks caused significant damage to the towns in the southern Umbria region, and Norcia bore the brunt of it. Then, in October 2016, another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 hit the town. Although casualties were low, it caused several historic buildings, already damaged from the previous quakes, to collapse.
Among these was the Basilica of St. Benedict, believed to be the birthplace of St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastic order, and his twin sister St. Scholastica, in AD 480. The restoration of the bell tower, which is part of the Norcia Town Hall building, located on the central Piazza San Benedetto, is a symbolically important mile-marker in the overall restoration of the city.
Nicola Alemanno, Mayor of Norcia, commented: “For someone living in Norcia, walking onto Piazza San Benedetto and being met by the bell tower is a relief for both eyes and soul; the same applies to the statue of our Patron Saint, which was left unscathed by the violence of the earthquake as if to tell us that we had to start rebuilding from here. We can now begin to regain possession of our ‘living room’. Thank you very much to Brunello Cucinelli for the attention he has always paid us. With his support, he has contributed in a decisive and concrete way to sustaining our hope of seeing our city rebuilt better and safer than before.”
Speaking of the future, Brunello will have the honour of opening the Pitti Uomo Digital 2021 from Solomeo on January 12. The brand will live-stream its Fall-Winter 2021 show, along with a series of appointments with buyers, clients and the national and international press. The digital appointments, we are informed, will last for four days.
The FW21 collection will be presented at “Casa Cucinelli,” a space set up inside the factory in Solomeo. The aim is to “recreate a familiar environment capable of combining culture, traditions, love for the territory and for hospitality.” Featuring “cosy furnishings,” the space aims to replicate the sensations one feels at Fortezza da Basso in Florence, the home of Pitti Uomo, and in the Casa Cucinelli in Milan, London, Paris and New York.
Following the formal announcement, Brunello commented: “I have always considered Pitti Uomo to be a sort of large open-air fashion show, where the 30,000 visitors from all over the world at each edition bring a pleasant atmosphere and at the same time define the “taste” of the coming season. There is no doubt that Pitti and the following four days in Milan probably represent the best men’s fashion week in the world.”