MILAN — “We wanted a fragrance that could feel like a cashmere sweater,” said Brunello Cucinelli on Tuesday, when his namesake fashion brand made its first foray into the beauty arena.
The Italian brand partnered with fragrance manufacturer EuroItalia on the project, in what Cucinelli defined as a “contemporary licensing agreement,” to underscore that he sees the category as an integrated part of his own company and in an alignment of values and work ethic with the beauty firm. The deal between the two parties was inked in 2020 but was kept under wraps until Tuesday.
Joined by EuroItalia’s chairman Giovanni Sgariboldi, Cucinelli retraced the beginning of the partnership at Milan’s “Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci,” the largest science and technology museum in Italy, where the Brunello Cucinelli pour Femme and Brunello Cucinelli pour Homme fragrances were unveiled.
“We decided to do something together in 2019. Then the pandemic hit, but we continued to work: I would have around 500 flacons of all sorts [of essences] at home,” Cucinelli said with a smile.
He explained that the idea behind the expansion of his brand’s scope to beauty was to replicate the experience he had in eyewear with EssilorLuxottica, in addition to a personal anecdote that first sparked his decision.
“Several years ago, on the passing of a dear friend of mine, a beautiful soul who produced aromatic essences, I dreamt that one day I would dedicate a new product to him, in his loving memory. Today I’m fulfilling that dream,” said the brand’s executive chairman and creative director.
“It is precisely durability, a great value to me, that has inspired my choice, given how long fragrances, from the ancient East to the modern West, have fascinated women and men and accompanied their lives. I like to think that a [spritz] of perfume is like a caress, which, along with trust, gives the human being a colorful view of the world,” he said.
Inspired by the company’s roots and the land of Umbria, the fragrances were created by Firmenich master perfumers Daphné Bugey and Olivier Cresp.
“I was extremely excited because I’m a true admirer of the fashion house and wanted to be part of this adventure,” said Bugey, who developed the essence for the women’s scent.
“So how to translate elegance, quality, beauty and simplicity into a fragrance?” she continued, citing quality ingredients, from amber and musk defining the base of the juice to fresh top notes of spices and citrus fruits like bergamot and mandarin. Other notes include orange blossom, pink pepper and woody accents such as vetiver from Haiti and Virginia cedarwood, extracted and distilled through sustainable processes.
“This is a woody fragrance, which is quite unusual for a woman, but for me woods are really the most elegant of all ingredients. But I wanted it to be very soft because I was inspired by the cashmere garments,” Bugey said. “And because the Brunello Cucinelli garments are never showy but you can always recognize them through the quality and craftsmanship behind, I wanted to find a similar signature in the fragrance,” she added referencing the addition of chestnut, the key note of the scent.
“I wanted to create a contemporary and timeless fragrance because it’s the first one for men for the brand,” echoed Cresp. Inspired by the rows of cypresses seen at the brand’s headquarters in Solomeo, Italy, the nose decided to make the tree his starting point for the men’s perfume.
In the juice, the essence of cypress is balanced by spicy juniper as well as bergamot, lemon, ginger and black pepper, among others.
Coming in an classic glass bottle with aluminum details and boasting a smooth surface for women and a chiseled one reminiscent of old-school colonias for men, both fragrances are priced at 180 euros.
Launched on Tuesday exclusively at the Brunello Cucinelli store in Milan’s Golden Triangle, the scents will hit the shelves of the brand’s boutiques in Europe and in the Middle East, as well as at selected perfumeries and retailers, starting from May. The debut in the U.S. is planned for early October, while the one in Asia is slated for the beginning of 2024.
A dedicated advertising campaign was unveiled along the fragrances. Photographed and directed by Hunter & Gatti, models Arizona Muse and James Turlington have been tapped as the face of the women’s and men’s scents, respectively. They were joined by talents including Boniface Vernay, Gabriela Richardson, Antwaun Sargent, Closet Yi, Anna Lotterud, Shaun De Wet, in a video commercial shot between Solomeo and Val d’Orcia, in Tuscany.
In the clip, the talents are portrayed in the natural landscape on a sunny day, while a voiceover celebrates dreamers. “You have always existed, and are reborn every day. You see the dawn before everyone else does. Original, idealist, visionary. You smell in the air the scent of a new world. Your time has come. The future belongs to those who can dream,” said the voiceover.
“We wanted an advertising campaign that could represent our colors, the territory we are bonded to and our idea of community,” said the fashion brand’s co-president and co-creative director Carolina Cucinelli, Brunello’s daughter. “Fragrance is linked to memory, that’s why we [compared] it to dreams… and we decided to dedicate the campaign to dreamers, celebrating them as contemporary heroes,” she added.
Both Brunello Cucinelli and EuroItalia were established in 1978. Listed on the Italian Bourse since 2012, the former company in 2022 generated 919.7 million euros in sales, up 29.1 percent compared to 2021.
EuroItalia is estimated to have reached around 690 million euros in sales in 2022, up 28 percent compared to the previous year. The firm manufactures and distributes fragrances and cosmetics also for Versace, Moschino, Dsquared2, Missoni and Michael Kors, in addition to Atkinsons 1799, I Coloniali, Reporter and Naj Oleari Beauty.
As reported, last year EuroItalia ranked first among Italian beauty companies with the most potential to publicly list, according to Milan-based consultancy Pambianco Strategie di Impresa. In 2020, the firm was in the top spot in Pambianco’s yearly ranking.
“This is a great family-run company that I hope one day will list on the Bourse. Why don’t you?” said Cucinelli looking at Sgariboldi. The latter responded by shaking is head from side to side repeatedly with a shy smile.