What’s good, America? GRAZIA USA asks fashion industry leaders and influential voices to share their secrets to a life well-lived: from the small delights of daily coffee orders to thought-provoking literature and more complex topics like sustainability and social activism. Welcome to #GOODQuestions.

Here, we chat with fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli about his Fall Winter 2021 collection unveiled during Milan Fashion Week.

#GOODQuestions With Brunello Cucinelli

How was the process of designing this collection different from the previous season?
We treasured our usual way of working, but tried to focus more on quality, manufacturing, and contemporary shapes in relation to the times we are living in. Since we were not able to travel, our style office staff went over the principles and values that define our corporate image, trying to rediscover the cornerstones of our wardrobe. A special focus was placed on knitwear. It dominated a large part of the new collection. We have sought out a code for dressing well, an elegance inspired by a renewed serenity which we are in great need of.

What measures did your team take to work efficiently but safely during the production of this collection? How did COVID-19 influence the way your brand approached the fashion week and the presentation of the new collection?
Our first duty was to ensure everyone’s safety; this has been the case ever since our esteemed friends in areas affected early on warned us of what was happening before the pandemic. This is the way we want it to be in the coming months too, complying with all the preventive measures in our work. Our team was ready to respect the rules: regardless of the health emergency, a point of reference for all of us in Solomeo has always been Socrates, who respects the laws of the city. From an operational point of view, at the end of January 2020, we immediately started looking for face masks and respirators for our regional hospitals. We decided to close the company a week before the national lockdown was enforced by the government in March 2020. We also committed ourselves not to lay off any employees and to guarantee them the same salary as the previous year. And we did not ask for any discounts from our suppliers because we do not think it is fair. Since last spring, we have set up a medical station in the company with two doctors in charge of carrying out scheduled COVID tests for all employees and visitors on a voluntary basis. Moreover, last summer, we decided to donate all the unsold goods in our closed shops during the darkest time.

Were there any experiences or lessons that you’ll take away from this unique season?
My greatest wish would be to be able to focus on what this historic moment has given me rather than what it has taken away. Of course I miss the jolly moments with the people I respect and love, but the great lesson that the pandemic has imparted to us is that human beings must work together for good life, good biology, and for good health.

Who in your life brings you good vibes and positive energy every day?
My all-time great teachers are an incentive for renewed positivity: I often think of Hadrian the Emperor who said, “I felt responsible for the beauty of the world.” And of the great Kant when he stated, “Act in such a way as to consider humanity both in your own person and in the person of everyone else, always as a noble end, never as a mere means.” Then I have to say that in my daily life, my wife and daughters constantly recharge me with positive energy.

Quote to live by? Quote you love?
There are several that I am particularly fond of. I will try to list a few. St Benedict, one of my great teachers stated, “Honor all men.” Marcus Aurelius, the great philosopher-emperor, “Live according to nature; indulge humanity; plan as if you were living for eternity.” And finally Confucius, “Even if something is simple, do it with care.”

Best news of the year for you so far?
No doubt about it: the day the vaccine was announced! I immediately went to see my father, who is 99 years old, to share this joy with him. This piece of news has enabled us to return to live and work in a much better atmosphere for the body and soul.

Define what a good life means to you.
First of all it means good human relations, trust in human beings and joy in the work one does. I consider this to be in keeping with what I like to call “human sustainability and living in harmony with creation.” No life can be truly beautiful if we are not enlightened by the sky and the stars.