Family, pasta, cake, wine, and dancing—many of the ingredients at Brunello Cucinelli’s 70th birthday party last night were typical of an Italian festa di compleanno.
Less typical was that Martha Stewart stirred the pasta before it was served, that the wine came from the birthday boy’s own vineyards, and that before they tasted either, the 500 or so guests witnessed what was effectively Cucinelli’s first-ever fashion show (he said it wasn’t really a show, but effectively it was), held in the Cucinelli-constructed amphitheater of his brand’s Umbrian home, Solomeo.
Amongst the 60-ish models were Bianca Balti, Tony Ward, Mark Vanderloo, Eva Herzigova, and Lucky Blue Smith. They crunched down the gravel at sunset and stood in three tiers of the theater’s koilon, beneath a four meter bust of the Roman emperor, Hadrian. The guests they faced, Stewart aside, included Patrick Dempsey, Vanessa Kirby, Ashley Park, David Gandy, Emma Thynn, and Jonathan Bailey. Absolutely everyone, as per the party’s dress code, wore shades of beige.
Since launching his brand in 1978 Cucinelli has been dedicated to the creation of wearable harmony: an infinite progression of serene human facades, all defined by an interplay of tone, texture, and proportion. It’s subtle stuff, and the tranquility of the product belies the drama—and hard work—behind Cucinelli’s apparently effortless rise to become one of the most significant independent luxury brands in the world.