May 21, 2024

Brunello Cucinelli is leaning into the art and design heritage of Miami’s Design District for its newest store.

The 4,500-square-foot, two-level boutique at 139 Northeast 39th Street is the Italian luxury brand’s third store in Florida, joining units on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, which was expanded about six months ago to include a stand-alone men’s boutique next door, and Bal Harbour, where it has had a presence since 2010. The Bal Harbour store was relocated to its current home in 2019.

“Miami is a very dynamic city, full of energy,” said Massimo Caronna, president and chief executive officer of Brunello Cucinelli’s North American division. “There’s such a cultural appeal there that attracts many international people in entertainment, music and hospitality. When you think of the Design District, you think about creativity — that’s what the community stands for and we like that a lot.”

Brunello Cucinelli's Miami Design District store.

The store is the brand’s third in Florida.

Oriol Tarridas/Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli.

Caronna said the company had been seeking a space in the area for a “quite some time,” and when this location became available, they snapped it up. “It’s very important with a luxury brand where you open and the quality of the store,” he said. “Distribution plays a big role in how we’re building this company for the future. In luxury, exclusivity builds desire, but at the end of the day, we’re a lifestyle brand.”

So the company set out to build a store where customers would feel comfortable immersing themselves in the Cucinelli lifestyle. There is a bar on site where visitors can grab a cappuccino and the cash register was removed from the shopping floor in order to make it feel like more a living room than a traditional retail store. “It’s a physical platform to tell them what we’re doing,” Caronna said. “The personal touch is extremely important for our brand,” he said.

“We’re creating a wonderful experience for friends of the brand and to create long-standing relationships,” Caronna added. “We always say that it’s easy to start a relationship, but harder to keep a relationship. This is a place to meet friends who want to live the brand, more than just wear the brand.”

Among the distinctive design elements in the store is a stone carpet on the ground floor and a central wooden cabinet salvaged from an early 20th-century food shop, where it had been used to wash and rinse vegetables, that was reimagined with metal tiles on top. There are cognac-colored leather armchairs from the Togo line designed by Michel Ducaroy that match a large silver chandelier.

Brunello Cucinelli's Miami Design District store.

The store is designed to feel like a living room.

Oriol Tarridas/Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli.

The second floor is designed to replicate a living area with armchairs from the 1960s (Carlo de Carli for Sormani). The dressing rooms are on this floor as is a tailor’s room with a large bamboo mirror that replicates Miami’s palm trees.

The store carries men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories as well as fragrance, eyewear and lifestyle products. Brunello Cucinelli eyewear was launched earlier this year through a partnership with EssilorLuxottica. Caronna said in terms of units, sales are basically evenly split between men’s and womenswear.

By adding its third store in Florida, it indicates how well the company does in that market. In the state, the Brunello Cucinelli collection is also sold at Neiman Marcus in Bal Harbour, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, and Saks Fifth Avenue in Boca Raton, Miami, Naples, Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, as well as the Marissa Collections in Naples.

The store offers men's and womenswear and accessories.

The store offers men’s and womenswear and accessories.

Oriol Tarridas/Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli.

All told, Caronna said, the company has 27 of its own stores in the U.S. and the plan is to systematically add units when the right location can be secured. “The idea is not to open a lot of stores,” he said, “maybe only two to three a year around the world, or as many as five if we feel they’re needed and there’s an opportunity. It’s not like we have to open stores.”

In the U.S., the next boutique to join the fleet will be in Vail, Colo., Caronna said. The company currently operates a store in Aspen, Colo., which he described as “a jewel. It’s a beautiful chalet with a little bar where you can stop by after skiing for hot chocolate or apple cider.” The Vail boutique, which is slated for a November opening, will have a similar aesthetic.

In addition, a store is being added at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto — one of the most important shopping centers in Canada — and that is expected to open in October.

Caronna stressed that although Brunello Cucinelli continues to add stores — at the end of the first quarter, there were 125 directly operated units globally and they accounted for 61 percent of overall sales — it still has a solid wholesale business. “We believe in physical retail, but we love wholesale,” he said. “We started as a multibrand company and we still believe very much that they’re the guardians of the brand.” Wholesale accounted for 39 percent of total sales in the first quarter.

Overall, Cucinelli reported last month that despite the worldwide slowdown in luxury fashion sales, it still managed to post a 16.5 percent increase in sales in the first three months of the year ended March 31. And based on orders for the fall men’s and women’s collections, the company is still expecting to grow 10 percent in 2024 with healthy profits. It also forecast 2025 sales are projected to increase 10 percent. Sales in the Americas in the first quarter were up 19.5 percent to 114.2 million euros and represent 36.9 percent of the total business.

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