Brunello Cucinelli’s new capsule collection targets younger shoppers and provides a glimpse at the future of the quiet luxury brand.
Launched on Wednesday at Canadian luxury department store Holt Renfrew, the 11-piece women’s fashion collection was co-created by founder Brunello Cucinelli’s daughter Carolina Cucinelli and Holt Renfrew fashion director Joseph Tang. Inspired by the personal style of Carolina Cucinelli, who he’d seen mix Cucinelli pieces with Converse sneakers or Levi’s jeans, Tang approached the brand with the idea while developing Holt Renfrew’s fall 2023 campaign. Since 2020, Carolina Cucinelli has been co-creative director and co-president of Brunello Cucinelli along with her father, while her sister Camilla Cucinelli co-leads women’s design.
“For the campaign, we wanted to ask, ‘What is the future of fashion?’” Tang said. “Like Holt Renfrew, Brunello Cucinelli is rooted in heritage, yet they’re constantly looking forward and thinking about the customer of the next 10-20 years. So, we started with the question, ‘What is the future of Cucinelli?’”
That led to a collaboration allowing Carolina Cucinelli and Tang to be the “thought leaders of what the Cucinelli customer at Holt Renfrew would look like” in the years to come, he said. Both Carolina Cucinelli and Tang are in their early 30s.
The pieces, which include a shearling biker jacket, a ribbed tank top and a knit beanie priced $800-$15,000, were based on Carolina Cucinelli’s wardrobe. As highlighted in a Holt Renfrew video promoting the collection, she has an edge. In one scene, she shows off her years-old Brunello Cucinelli motorcycle jacket with “The rebel girl in me will never die” painted on the back.
While Cucinelli is known for its cropped, tailored pieces, Tang said he challenged the brand to embrace new silhouettes for the collaboration. Among the results are a pair of “fluid” white trousers that “puddle on the ground” and a pair of light-wash denim with a “slouchy, loose” fit, Tang said, adding, “They’re inspired by vintage Levi’s but done in the exquisite fabrics Cucinelli is known for.” They also happen to reflect Gen Z’s denim preferences.
Despite Brunello Cucinelli recently becoming synonymous with the quiet luxury trend, Tang noted that its prints and go-to Monili embellishment often make it recognizable. As this capsule is meant to be “an entryway for the customers of the future” and, therefore, timeless and versatile to the nth degree, he and Carolina Cucinelli worked to make the brand’s signatures even quieter. For example, its branding is hidden under the collar of the coat. Brunello Cucinelli executives were unavailable to comment on this story.
The fact that Carolina Cucinelli is a second-generation member of the storied family business also made her an ideal collaborator for Holt Renfrew. The company is prioritizing storytelling in both its marketing and merchandising. The focus is on “points of differentiation” in the product assortment which prove they’re special and reflect the company’s values, Tang said. Those values include empowering self-expression, igniting positive change and championing sustainability.
As such, also this week, the retailer reintroduced its print magazine that it paused in 2019 in favor of digital marketing. Along with a four-page spread on the Brunello Cucinelli x Holt Renfrew collection, its features include a writeup on B-Corp luxury brand Another Tomorrow. The launch party for the publication was hosted in a venue in Tononto’s East End that often hosts local DJs.
“It’s about changing perceptions,” Tang said. “We’re [targeting] a new demographic of younger, creative, curious customers who may have yet to discover the changes we’ve made at Holt Renfrew.”
Tang noted that Holt Renfrew’s core, loyal customer is getting older. Meanwhile, their offspring are becoming financially independent and defining “a new wardrobe, a new way of thinking and a new way of shopping.”
To cater to those customers, the 185-year-old company has also been updating its stores with cafes and other spaces encouraging them to “hang out with friends,” Tang said. Its Bloor Street space in Toronto even features a content studio for visiting creators.
Since 1986, Holt Renfrew has been privately owned by the Weston family, which also owned Selfridges Group until 2021. For its part, Brunello Cucinelli is on track to top the $1 billion mark for the first time this year. In July, it raised its 2023 revenue projections, now expecting a 19% year-over-year boost.