Some in the fashion industry may be growing tired of hearing the term “quiet luxury,” but shoppers haven’t tired of purchasing it.
Brunello Cucinelli has become a poster child for “quiet luxury” — the phrase that has recently caught on to describe understated yet expensive clothing, which has been embraced in response to the showiness of luxury brands like Gucci under Alessandro Michele. And according to Cucinelli’s most recent earnings report, released on Tuesday, the consumer desire for quiet luxury has remained strong. Its profits were up 31.9% in the first half of 2023, and it’s now expecting a 10% increase in sales for the next year. In May, it was projecting a 17-19% annual boost. Tuesday’s update marked the third time this year that Cucinelli has raised its earnings forecast after continued success and growing sales.
Brunello Cucinelli, the brand’s founder and creative director, said he believes that the quiet luxury trend has played a key role in the brand’s ongoing rising revenues.
“The first half of 2023 ended with excellent results, both in terms of sales and profits,” he said in a statement alongside the earnings. “Globally, we believe that there is a strong demand for ready-to-wear displaying high quality and craftsmanship, with a special focus on the exclusivity and rarity of these items. The Spring-Summer 2024 men’s and women’s order collection is coming to an end with excellent results and great appreciation for taste and sobriety as the true identification of that ‘quiet luxury’ much valued at this moment in human history.”
Thanks to notable cultural moments in the last year like the finale of “Succession” – whose characters were known for their quiet luxury looks, like an unbranded Loro Piana baseball cap – and Jennifer Lawrence’s viral Loewe looks, quiet luxury is everywhere. Now, lots of brands are moving toward the look, even non-luxury brands like Everlane and luxury players known for their louder, more in-your-face styles like Gucci. Cucinelli, along with Loewe, Bottega Veneta and Loro Piana, may be the icons of quiet luxury, but many brands are hoping to ride the wave of understated elegance to new growth.
And the desire for quiet luxury, or stealth wealth, is strong across national borders. China, too, values quiet luxury, or laoqianfeng, meaning “old money look”. It’s even spilled out from just fashion into other areas like home decor, where the ultra-expensive but understated light switches from Forbes & Lomax, for example, have become big sellers.
“As a luxury brand, you have to maintain a high quality standard,” said Ludovic Dedieu-Wallerand, president of the Parisian luxury brand Maison Ernest, who said that the quiet luxury trend is key to his own brand’s continued growth. “We work with only a few partners and grow slowly to preserve the quality of the brand. I like to think that we’re a bit secret. We call it ‘blind luxury,’ [meaning] brands that don’t advertise too much but people understand the quality when they see it.”