Brunello Cucinelli started his career in fashion in 1978 when, after borrowing a sum of money, he commissioned local craftspeople in his native region of Umbria, to knit a collection of 57 cashmere sweaters in eye-popping bright hues—taking a page from the Italian clothing company Benetton’s color-drenched palette. The gambit won him immediate attention and a dedicated following. Since then he has turned down the volume on the color wheel to subdued neutral tones and built a fashion empire creating both men’s and women’s wear—all produced in Italy—that boast quality and authenticity as their trademarks.
Often called the king of cashmere, his publicly traded company is headquartered in the small town of Solomeo, in Perugia, where the benevolent Cucinelli has virtually rebuilt the village. The company also donates 20 percent of its profits to its charitable foundation, which underwrites most of the cultural events in the small village. Cucinelli, who brought everyday luxury to men’s and women’s fashion, has turned his practiced hand to the home. His latest shop, in East Hampton, New York, is offering a selective collection of home accessories including mink, fox, and shearling pillows, lush cashmere blankets, scented candles, and elegantly sewn placemats of the finest linen. All of these wares display the virtuoso detailing, craftsmanship, and luxurious materials for which he is best known.