It could have been a scene from a movie, a very gorgeous one, with a bearded Chris Pine leaning against the bar in a perfect white linen suit, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk descending the stairs into the Chateau Marmont lobby salon hand-in-hand, followed by a bespectacled Jon Hamm and his wife, Anna Osceola.
Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli was the director of the scene — “Una Serata Italiana” (an Italian evening) — in Los Angeles on Thursday night, which brought out the starriest crowd in some time for Negronis and dinner in the garden, including Oprah, JLo and Ben Affleck, Ava Duvernay, Demi Moore, Jeremy Allen White, Rick Caruso, Ashley Park, James Marsden, Quinta Brunson, Mandy Moore, Alessandro Ambrosio, January Jones and many more.
“Brunello shorts!” Rashida Jones and Gwyneth Paltrow squealed in unison, seeing they were twinning. Light colored suits was the other wardrobe of choice for the evening, a particularly warm one for October.
“Brunello and Ralph Lauren are my icons in business and in life,” said APL shoes founder Ryan Goldston, arriving with his brother Adam.
The name of Cucinelli’s Italian hamlet of cashmere, craft and humanity was on everyone’s lips, a Shangri-La more perfect than Hollywood itself. “Solomeo, have you been to Solomeo? You have to go to Solomeo.”
“For fashion, it’s very important for us to come here for research for the summer collection, it’s very inspirational,” said Cucinelli, last in L.A. in 2019. “The way we got to know America was through television, before I got to come here in person, the imagery was ‘Dallas,’ and ‘Miami Vice.’”
Cucinelli had a dinner Tuesday night in New York at Saks Fifth Avenue, celebrating 25 years with the store and an exclusive capsule, and has also launched a 68-piece men’s and women’s “Hollywood Glamour” collection with Neiman Marcus, available at 32 doors and online, following his Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion.
Clearly, he’s still a believer in American department stores. “Forty percent of our business is through multibrands, and I attach lots of importance to names like Saks, Neiman’s and Bergdorf Goodman. When you step into Neiman’s, you see Brunello Cucinelli with different brands, and maybe you find something else.”
Cucinelli is on an earnings roll, having raised its guidance again for 2023 and issued a positive outlook for 2024-25, as it nears its goal of hitting the 1 billion euro mark in annual revenues.
“What’s resonating is taste, this idea of having quiet luxury,” he said. “I’m also a firm believer in exclusivity. I myself do not buy any kind of items that are too widely commoditized or distributed. So you have exclusivity and craftsmanship. My hope is these items we design never go to waste. I have an archive of all the clothes I have been wearing for years, I never throw anything away. I can’t even conceive of throwing anything away. So it means we are making product that is handed down. The other important thing, young consumers want to know where something was made, the process, whether there is respect to those who make it with skilled hands. My hope is people who buy our garments know that what we do is try to work without harming humanity.”
Cucinelli had met some of his guests, others he was greeting for the first time. “I have had the pleasure that many of them are buying properties or hanging out near where we live in Castello di Reschio. I like the idea they come for some peace and quiet, some humanity but also some mysticism to this place that is very soothing to the soul,” he said.
Both Paltrow and Ryan Seacrest have houses in the area.
“I’m also happy to welcome them to Solomeo and usually we have a meal at my place, my wife cooks for them, they must have rigatoni with mozzarella.”
Hollywood has become increasingly important to selling the Cucinelli brand, which has a West Hollywood showroom, a house actually, to cater to stars and stylists. Additionally, there are Cucinelli stores in Beverly Hills, South Coast Plaza and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.
“Young actors, the fact they want to wear the product, many of them just wear it because they like it because they know about the creation. Everything helps.”
And they look good in the clothes. “Each of us like to feel good in our clothes,” Cucinelli laughed.
At dinner, chatter was about the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, which is causing so much pain.
“I saw my father and brothers be humiliated at work, and I do not want to do that. My dream was to work to foster more economic dignity, we need to restore dignity,” Cucinelli told the crowd in a speech, delivered through a translator, touching on his well-known humanistic approach to business.
Give him a seat at the negotiating table.