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In 1985, designer Brunello Cucinelli bought a 14th-century castle in his wife's hometown, the small Italian village of Solomeo. He restored the structure and converted it into the headquarters of his cashmere clothing company, employing nearly all of the townspeople as everything from garment sewers to business administrators. Initially inspired by the United Colors of Benetton's brightly-colored wool sweaters, Cucinelli started his line in 1978, designing a similar line of cardigans, turtle-, V- and crew-necked sweatersóbut all in cashmere. He eventually expanded his brand into complete luxe sportswear lines for men and women. Cashmere is still his specialty, but he now favors more muted colors and also designs silk dresses, polo shirts, flannel blazers, and jackets with elbow patches. Today the company has nearly thirty stores around the world, each one shipping in all its garments from the same castle in Solomeo.
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