The Newest Mad Man: Brunello Cucinelli-------
If there’s ever been a brand meant for uptown, Brunello Cucinelli is it. “Of course, we’ve always wanted to be on Madison Avenue,” said Massimo Caronna, president of Brunello Cucinelli USA, drifting past lavender and indigo installments of the famous Cucinelli cashmere sweaters and the occasional cashmere soccer ball. And citing the economic opportunity afforded the company during the recession, he said, “Last year, it made perfect sense to open our store here.”
But, alas, at the opening of his first store above 14th Street in New York City, Cucinelli himself was nowhere to be found. Thanks to an incipient bout of pneumonia, he remained in Europe, sending the following message through his representatives: “Situations arise that are out of our control. We must adapt to them and move on.” His hero, Marcus Aurelius, couldn’t have said it more stoically.
The new shop, outfitted with raw-wood farm tables and armoires, is the latest of the label’s 40-some doors around the world. It maintains the same summer-home aesthetic—call it resort chic, minus any hint of Margaritaville. Caronna says Cucinelli’s U.S. client base is, in fact, 70 percent tourists, and the Madison Avenue location should offer a welcome post to re-ration en route to Miami or Monaco. Like the store, the clothing is exquisitely crafted, light (for the jet set forever in warmer climes), and finely detailed. Solomeo crests are hidden behind a jacket lapel, and signature striping peeks out from a shirt cuff. And for the aristocrat in repose this season, the label debuts buckskin brogues and a casual, camel-colored spin on the Wallabee.
Brunello Cucinelli, 683 Madison Ave., NYC.