Pret-a-Reporter

How Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio Achieve "Cashmere Utopia"

BEImages; AP Images/Invision
Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, Daniel Craig and Leonardo DiCaprio

Famously private fashion mogul Brunello Cucinelli, who designs sweaters (starting at $1,290) and suits for A-listers, talks about his famous clients and how he sources the world's finest cashmere.

This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Fashion's most luxurious knitwear label was founded in 1985 by Brunello Cucinelli, whose neutral-toned, beautifully cut cashmere (sweaters from $1,290; sold in eponymous boutiques worldwide) dominates the weekend-wear sections of Hollywood's wealthiest closets. Now turning out suits and gowns, Cucinelli, 62, reveres ancient Greece and has even applied Platonic humanism to the 14th century Umbrian town of Solomeo (population less than 500), where his offices, studio and manufacturing are based. The married employer of about 1,000 staffers and 4,000 contractors took it upon himself to rebuild the entire town during the past decade, from its roads to its main medieval castle. The famously private fashion mogul recently spoke to THR.

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On your brand's website, Socrates and St. Francis of Assisi are quoted, and your company has even been referred to as a "cashmere utopia." Why?

These great teachers of humanity inspired how I lead my life and my company. I stayed true to nourishing the heart through creating an environment dedicated to living a meaningful life. Something higher has to be pursued. From the start, my vision for the brand went beyond what is fashionable. My inspiration draws from putting people at the core.

How do you source the world's finest cashmere?

We have been working with important partners in Mongolia and China for the past 35 years to locate the absolute best raw materials. Then they are sent to Italy through my esteemed supplier Cariaggi, which turns it into yarn.

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Recently, more celebrities have taken to wearing the label. Ben Affleck is a big client, and Neil Patrick Harris, Daniel Craig, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Pine and Leonardo DiCaprio have worn your suits. What happened?

I'm very honored celebrities have discovered the brand by their own appreciation for high quality. We do not put much emphasis on celebrity exposure, but we truly value each and every customer relationship. In the past two years, we have expanded the more formal part of the collection, buying an Italian factory called D'Avenza, known for its historic men's tailoring and made-to-measure. Our cut is more relaxed and very comfortable.

Jennifer Lopez also has been wearing the brand, as have Blake Lively and Jennifer Garner — mostly daywear. What's that about?

I am interested in dressing women 24 hours a day and for all occasions. We introduced the eveningwear collection two seasons ago and plan for it to grow. But my main focus will always be on daywear.

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