Rebecca McLaughlin- Duane talks to Fabio Gnocchi of Brunello Cucinelli about how to stay cool this summer
When it comes to looking hot and keeping cool in the summer months, there's one go-to label for celebrities – Brunello Cucinelli. Fabio Gnocchi, the luxury brand's chief commercial director, talks about the brand's cashmere essentials.
Name two must-have items every gentleman should pack for his summer holiday.
A light cashmere jacket and a beautiful pair of cotton trousers.
What about one item to keep men and women cool during the day but warm in the evenings?
I would say a grey round-neck sweater for men. I also think a light scarf is very important for ladies. Very light, soft scarves are useful in UAE weather, where you're hot during the day yet go straight into stores and buildings which are cooled.
Fans of black will be disappointed to learn it is banned from your collections. Isn't it impossible for people not to have some black items in their capsule wardrobe?
Maybe, but everybody knows us for not using black and they seem to like that. Black is not part of our array of colours. We are very famous for our natural tones, the browns, greys, taupes and whites - that's our brand identity. And we have the type of ready-to-wear collection you can wear all day, every day and in the evening too, depending on how you accessorise.
Your brand has a diverse following. Tell us about some of the famous faces who buy your cashmere collections.
To be honest, our brand is not a "glittery" or "red carpet" one, but we do have a lot of celebrities who love our merchandise, from Prince William to Robert de Niro and Roger Federer. Daniel Craig often wears our suits in interviews and Hugh Laurie likes our tuxedos. Ladies such as Demi Moore also often wear our clothes, as does Jessica Alba.
What's one item that might symbolise the brand, its history and its Italian heritage?
Anything cashmere, 100 per cent. Because this is how the brand has been recognised for the past 30 years. Also our knitwear for sure, which Mr Cucinelli started producing in the late 1970s in Umbria.
Cashmere may be luxurious and versatile but it's never cheap, so how is the price justified?
Well, we think it's an investment. Which is why, in tough times, such as in 2009 which was the worst year for the fashion world, we were able to keep building on double-digit growth due to the fact that cashmere and our exclusive quality items have always been appreciated by customers. It's truly an investment and you are buying something that you're going to wear forever.
Are there plans afoot for a ladies collection in Dubai?
Yes, of course. Worldwide, ladies represent around 60 per cent of our sales – stronger than menswear, so we're hoping to open the first Brunello Cucinelli store in Dubai in the very near future – sometime this year.
How big is your fan base here in the Middle East?
We have a lot of Middle Eastern customers who especially like to visit our Rome, Milan, Paris, London and St Tropez boutiques.