Massimo Caronna’s East Hampton Escape

by Paige Reddinger

Here’s a gem from the pages of the Daily Summer…Brunello Cucinelli’s laid-back, ultra-luxe brand of chic has been charming the East End long before the 2006 opening of its East Hampton outpost. Massimo Caronna, the brand’s U.S. president (and an 18-year vet of the house) is perfectly positioned to supervise matters from his weekend home in East Hampton. 

What do you love most about the Hamptons?
At my home here, I’m able to relax and decompress from the fast pace of the city. While some people keep a major social calendar, my family and I definitely spend more time at home recharging and entertaining with friends and family. The Hamptons offers me the comfort and routine of home with the feeling of vacation and escape.

Where do you go in Europe?
My wife and I tend to visit Greece most often, because she is Greek. Mykonos, Santorini, and our favorite suburb of Athens, Varkiza, provide the most beautiful, picturesque, and functional beaches. Our favorite pastime is fun on the beach and swimming. We would lie for hours on the beach—at least before our daughter Eva was born, who now insists on no relaxation at all times. Other favorite destinations are Capri, Taormina, the Aeolian islands, and Porto Cervo, which are all fantastic places by the sea, but I always feel like a visitor there. In the Hamptons, I feel part of a community, and there’s an emotional connection that makes me feel truly at ease. There’s also a practical point about vacationing in the Hamptons: its proximity to the city. The summer is a busy time for our business, so taking off for long periods of time isn’t possible. The charm and quiet beauty of the Hamptons is all I need during the busy summer months. Being able to lie by the pool, take a walk on the beach, and eat fresh, local food is how I like to relax. When we want to be social, we’re fortunate to have an incredible network of friends.

How did you end up buying a Hamptons house?
When we were seeking a location for our store, I decided to purchase a home. I was struck with a strong desire to be a part of the community, and I was craving the relaxed, health-driven, sun-kissed lifestyle. We learned quickly of its sophistication, deep artistic roots, and most important, the local communities who care for the area year round, providing the summer visitors with the most pristine and beautiful land, children’s camps, historic reservations, and organic farmlands. There is a magnetism to the East End; it was clearly our fate to own a home out here. We didn’t know how perfectly it would align with our lifestyle and how it would, in a sense, create and define our lifestyle.

How would you describe the Hamptons to your European friends?
All-American charm with a Manhattan social scene.

What is your favorite restaurant?
My wife would insist I say her kitchen, since we spend 90 percent of the time eating at home on the weekends! It’s impossible not to, with the prosperous resources of organic foods, local treats, and our love of barbecuing with friends amongst the serenity of trees and flowers in our gardens. But when we do venture out, we love visiting Tutto il Giorno in Sag Harbor, East Hampton Point, and Eva’s favorite, Navy Beach in Montauk, so she can run around on the beach and splash in the water at sunset.

Who serves the best Italian food here?
Tutto il Giorno in Sag Harbor and Sant Ambroeus in Southampton. We also love the fresh mozzarella that Pasquale makes daily with his bare hands at the Red Horse Market, the fresh pasta and sauces, and the pizza!

How do Italians BBQ?
We love to invite friends to our home and barbecue by the pool while the kids play with their friends. My wife prepares, and I grill—a collaboration with a rocky start, but we’ve finally figured out the formula! We keep things simple without using too many marinades. As Italians, we always believe in the quality of food and the simple, essential ingredients to bring out the natural taste of the fare. Brunello’s olive oil from Solomeo, with some coarse sea salt and Greek oregano, sprinkled on organic vegetables and fish on the grill dominate our table all summer.

How would you describe your typical Hamptons weekend?
Our weekends are simple: SoulCycle with Stacey Griffith, our favorite spin instructor, whom we are fortunate to also call our friend; shopping local farms like Round Swamp Farm, Balsam Farms, and the Amagansett Farmers Market; swimming at the beach or our pool; and barbecuing with family and friends.

Why did Brunello Cucinelli first decide to open a store in the Hamptons?
The atmosphere of casual luxury, which is so characteristic of East Hampton, is a perfect fit for our brand. The aesthetic of Brunello Cucinelli truly lends itself to the client who wants to look and feel put together even in their more relaxed moments. We offer our clients a comfortable yet chic wardrobe, where they can run to town, attend a social event, or merely visit friends, and if they decide to stay through dinner or go straight to dinner, they are already dressed at ease.

What are some of your best sellers?
At the beginning of the summer, women love buying for their days and evenings in the Hamptons. They want dresses, silk tops, novelty pants, and beautiful cashmere sweaters to cut the chill of the evenings. And men look for our light fabric sport shirts, jersey and piquet polos, hand-finished cotton pants, and cashmere sweaters.

Are you escaping anywhere exotic other than the Hamptons this summer?
I was in Italy for work in June and I spent a couple of extra days there in Umbria with Brunello. He and I share the same love for the Italian countryside. We enjoy incredible food and interesting conversations. He is the most insightful man I know.

 

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