Neiman Marcus’ Deep Dive With Brunello Cucinelli

Neiman Marcus is taking its long-standing partnership with Brunello Cucinelli to another level with a “360-degree” campaign called “Muse of the West,” which launches Monday.

The collaboration, which took six months to pull together, encompasses an exclusive, multicategory, 30-piece Brunello Cucinelli women’s collection selling only at all 36 Neiman Marcus stores and – the Brunello Cucinelli stores and website are not carrying it.

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Marketing initiatives including a look book and a first-time video with Carolina Cucinelli, co-creative director and copresident of Brunello Cucinelli, and her sister Camilla, cohead of the designer brand’s women’s style team. It all culminates with a dinner and fashion presentation for VIP customers and influencers spending a day at the 100-acre RoadRunner Ranch in Dallas on Oct. 13, mingling with Neiman’s executives, Carolina Cucinelli and ranch hands.

“We are crafting a very unique path in terms of how we engage with customers,” said Lana Todorovich, president and chief merchandising officer of Neiman Marcus. “It’s an integrated model, with our stores, online and remote selling channels. It’s not the luncheons or pop-ups of the past. It’s a different scale of engagement, with different ways to engage customers.”

She calls the strategy “retail-tainment” and said it’s about “reimagining” store experiences, working with brands and designers to come up with more imaginative and often complex experiences and presentations for shoppers that go beyond the usual retail theater.

The strategy, or its first manifestation, began with the three-week Prada Coast installation at the Neiman Marcus store in the NorthPark Center in Dallas in June 2021. The setup recreated an Italian beach, with LED walls with live crashing ocean waves, sand, lifeguards, gelato and Prada’s summer collection set in a 2,200-square-foot installation on the main floor, and buoyed by engagements elsewhere in the store. Neiman’s also had a Burberry takeover at its store in the Lenox Square mall in Atlanta. The exterior was wrapped with Burberry’s TB monogram print and inside there were more than 50 exclusive styles.

This particular collaboration with Brunello Cucinelli is “a full-blown collection across women’s ready-to-wear and accessories – 30 different styles,” said Todorovich, and not to be construed as a “capsule” collection, which typically would be confined to maybe half a dozen to a dozen pieces. However, compared to Cucinelli’s regular seasonal collections, typically with about 1,200 stock keeping units, Muse of the West could be viewed as a capsule.

“Brunello Cucinelli and Neiman Marcus has been evolving for more than 20 years,” said Massimo Caronna, the president and chief executive officer of Brunello Cucinelli North America. “Neiman’s is our number-one retail client – our top retailer worldwide.

“We’ve been having conversations on a weekly basis, finding creative ways to make physical and digital presentations more impactful. We are learning from their client experiences and the customer service they provide. They understand luxury, not just as a concept but as a way of life. They understand what a lifestyle brand is. Their sensitivity to personalization and storytelling has grown.”

In 2018, 50 Neiman’s associates visited Brunello Cucinelli headquarters in the small town of Solomeo, Italy, as well as Cucinelli factories, for four days of learning the Cucinelli way and culture. “We have the same values in our approach to business and relationship building, and we feel they truly understand the essence of Brunello Cucinelli,” said Caronna.

The Muse of the West women’s collection draws inspiration from the American West with a decisively Italian twist. The campaign cinematic video, shot in Tuscany, features the Cucinelli sisters getting into their design vision and creative styles, as well as the craftsmanship, materials and details of the collection. It blends classic imagery and elements of the American West – i.e., the plains, ranches and horses – with Italian landscapes and autumnal colors.

Within the collection there’s a mix of shearling outerwear, long and short quilted blazers, leather pants, woolen skirts, checked silk blouses, four-pocket denim jackets, shirt dresses, cable knits and accessories, with leathers, suedes, sartorial patterns and geometric jacquards. Accessories include Western-style pointed ankle boots; riding-style boots; loafers; sneakers; sporty clogs, as well as bags in different sizes and leathers; wide, masculine belts; leather gloves, and hats.

Todorovich thinks the collection’s Nordic “opera” knit in soft red, which required over 30 hours of work to create by artisans, will be a bestseller. Prices in the collection range from $650 for a plaid scarf to $9,995 for a suede shirt dress.

The Nordic “opera” knit.
The Nordic “opera” knit.

The campaign started Wednesday and runs through October, which is actually an eventful month for Neiman’s for additional “360-degree” experiences for customers. A “immersive” celebration for Akris and its 100th anniversary, with Akris designer Albert Kriemler and Akris ceo Peter Kriemler in Chicago, happens Oct. 18. Neiman’s will unveil an exclusive shoe and handbag collection with Christian Louboutin, titled “Loubi-Mystery.” The collection, which is inspired by murder mysteries and the game “Clue,” features rich fabrics, bold prints and decorative details. Neiman Marcus NorthPark will also host an event in October to launch the exclusive retail-tainment installation and celebrate the collection. Several more such experiences at Neiman’s are in the works for the next 12 to 18 months.

A suede and leather riding boot from the Muse of the West collection at Neiman’s only.
A suede and leather riding boot from the Muse of the West collection at Neiman’s only.

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