In Conversation With LUCA CAPRAI @ CEO of Cruciani

CRUCIANI, a brand started from linen and home textiles turned cashmere knitwear production in particular handmade loose-knit models with modern wearability and now to the next generation specialize in ultra-thin models "impossible to make by hand”. Luca Caprai, the 2nd generation and CEO of the brand re-developed The Everlasting Clover where the traditional believing in the leaves of clover bring good luck to its finders. Each leaf is believed to represent a kind of blessing: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck. Created in 1992 and with the mission to convey his values and family culture through a message of excellence, Cruciani aims to achieve production of garments that meet the needs and demands of all markets whilst maintaining the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality. With the vision to give tangible form, each Cruciani product is made entirely in Italy and represents the best of the nation’s traditional heritage and the continual evolution of its state-of-the-art design. The products are young, casual and sophisticated. They are pleasing to wear and have the timeless, universal quality of truly inspiring design. Caprai stopped over in Hong Kong for his short visit and told mylifestylenews how his business still growing strong in believing what he believes in......

In 1992, my father Arnaldo Caprai started the linen and home textiles industry and suddenly decided to start producing cashmere knitwear and in particular handmade loose-knit models with modern wearability.

Despite the initial passion for such sumptuous, warm and “virtuous” knitwear, I started up another company in 2001, to specialize in ultra-thin models “impossible to make by hand”.

The four-leaf clover has been the most powerful mascot that every one adores. With such belief, my father created the first bracelet to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy in 2011. 

From Umbria to Le Marche and Salerno, where the family businesses produce Cruciani, a product made entirely in Italy using both manual techniques and high-tech looms. Cruciani is totally and proudly made in Italy. In my family we’re all specialists: I only make sweaters, my brother only makes wine, my father only makes lace now which was his passion.

What really defines Cruciani garments is that each creation is made using the finest yarns, sourced from all over the world, from cashmere to cotton, from vicuña to experimental mixes and the Diamante Rosso - the world’s longest cashmere fibre (with Det Norske Veritas certification).

Becoming the best in its field involved extreme specialization. Just as wearing a Cruciani garment, whether in Milan or New York, Moscow or Tokyo or Dubai, means enjoying maximum quality, with no “tricks” or compromises.

“Made-in-Italy” still commands enormous respect abroad; its high cost is justified by the extreme specialization of our industry operators, companies that still meticulously monitor their production processes down to the smallest details to ensure end customer gets a truly precious, indeed unique object of craftsmanship.

Cruciani invests a lot in research and technology, the innovation I think was the most important was the initial intuition, that of freeing cashmere knits from the very “British” concept, and old-fashioned wearability, of a country garment to wear on Sundays when walking the dog. Cruciani was the first brand to give cashmere sweaters innovative, modern wearability. Not an extreme revolution maybe, but creating a garment that’s both contemporary and comfortable.

There’s an increasingly wide gap between what fashion offers and what people actually wear. All over the world people are now buying “specialist” brands rather than a mainstream label. The quality of the product is more important today than it was ten years ago. Italy, Eastern Europe and Japan are the markets that most appreciate the product and its quality.

Many clients come to Cruciani solely for its excellence, in terms of raw materials and processes, which still involve a lot of manual work.

America is seeing strong growth and China is an enormous market where there’s room for everyone and where we, with our professionalism, have carved out a high prestige niche that’s secure against imitation and large scale manufacturing.

Japan is the first country we exported to, Japanese have more affinities with the Italians than people think. The Japanese are experts in quality: when they buy, they want to know why they’re paying a certain price and they seek objective perfection, a thing that Cruciani, to its advantage, is able to prove.

The Middle East is another growing market. Six months ago Cruciani opened its first directly managed point of sale in the Arab Emirates, in the Burjuman Mall in Dubai.

Our development plan in this region is very well structured, with new openings scheduled in the main Middle Eastern cities over the next three years.

Cruciani has recently widened its range of products to provide a total look. The Collection has been rounded out with a line of leather goods for women, tailored garments such as jackets, suits, trousers, shirts and outerwear, and an initial offering of footwear.

We are upgrading for the men’s, women’s and accessories collections. The company is planning, in the short term, to become a brand with a more powerful stylistic identity.

The most visible emblem of this diversification process is undoubtedly the lace jewellery line.The four-leaf clover bracelet started out as a somewhat playful experiment in communicating Cruciani to a young and increasingly well informed and demanding public.

Lace may seem conceptually distant from the passions of modern day life but it in fact encapsulates many elements of our culture and traditions.

The bracelets are made of macramé needlework by one of the family’s companies and are therefore 100% made-in-Italy.

These must-have objects are now seen as icons of the brand’s philosophy and vitality. With over 14 million bracelets sold to date in select markets. We are now design a concept store enabling it to organize sustainable growth of the line in keeping with its overall development strategy.

The first bracelet was combined by three shamrocks with the colours of the Italian flag, containing in the quality, craftsmanship of needle lace made by the factory.

I created Cruciani C Bracelet from the first creation of my father and turned the design into an international success. I was then designed the four-leaf clover bracelet to communicate with the young and well-informed public. 

The phenomenon soon exploded in Europe, America and Japan. Inspired by the everyday life, the crochet bracelets are made of light and strength macramé lace produced by the Luca’s family company, and therefore, the bracelet is 100% made-in-Italy.Created by many embroidery stitches, macramé lace is known for its resilience. It does not deform or fray.

The bracelets are uniquely designed: each bracelet has seven macramé lace four leaf clovers flanked by the letter C. And each bracelet is sold with a Cruciani guarantee certificate, which also carries a thoughtful message of good wishes. You can put on various colours of the bracelet for mix and match, and feel the carefree lightness.

Under the unique Italian craftsmanship, other lucky motifs such as butterfly and heart shape are created in a wide range of colour selection. Reflecting the heritage and experience of Arnaldo Caprai’s lace company, these bracelets encapsulate the values and craftsmanship of “made in Cruciani”.

“life is a series of crossroads: you find yourself making sweaters because roads going in different directions led you to it”. Says Luca Caprai.

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