giovedì 18 settembre 2014

Brunello Cucinelli's 'optimistic' new collection

Humanist CEO sees 'moral, civil, economic' rebirth in Italy

(ANSA) - Milan, September 15 - The new Brunello Cucinelli collection features relaxed urban shapes in fluid silks and knits in a mostly off-white and yellow palette with strong dashes of powder pink. "We can't not see things in a rosy light," says the Umbrian entrepreneur. Cucinelli, who prides himself on a humanist business ethic that calls for "reinvesting to improve the lives of workers, to enhance and restore the beauty of the world" is a fan of philosophers and spiritual leaders such as Seneca, Socrates, St.

Francis of Assisi - and Pope Francis. A philanthropist as well as a businessman, Cucinelli is fond of quoting the Argentine pontiff, saying that applying even just 10% of the pope's tenets improves life. With earnings up 11% in the first semester of the year and forecasts of "healthy two-digit growth in profits and turnover by the end of the year", Cucinelli's blend of ethics and esthetics has proven fruitful in spite of the ongoing economic downturn.

The entrepreneur, whose business flourishes abroad while posting 18% of its turnover in Italy, is also a firm believer in his country's potential. "I can feel a moral, civic, and economic rebirth is taking place here," said the 61-year-old fashion designer and CEO of his eponymous brand based in Solomeo, a medieval hamlet nestled in the Umbrian hills. "I talk to a lot of 30- and 40-somethings. Thanks to them, we are returning to healthier patterns of consumption and eliminating useless surplus from our lives," said Cucinelli, who dropped out of engineering school at age 24 to read philosophy on his own. He went on to found his clothing company at age 25 with the Italian lira equivalent of $550, reportedly becoming a billionaire after the initial public offering of Brunello Cucinelli SpA. "By surplus I mean that which is useless, wasted, misused.

This is the kind of consumerism that must be eliminated," said the philanthropic businessman. "Increased awareness is leading us to buy better products, and as Italians we are expected to provide quality and uniqueness," said Cucinelli, adding that many of Italy's best and brightest who expatriated to make their dreams come true abroad are now returning to produce in the Bel Paese. This, he says, will help remedy Italy's biggest problem, which is the fact that over one in four youths are unemployed. "Italy is seen as a special place," Cucinelli said. "People want to dress like us and live like us". 

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