The Fibre of The Gods by Loro Piana
Loro Piana travels the world in search of only the best materials for their top-rate fabric.
Nowadays, the term « luxury » has become a catch-phrase for marketing purposes and appears everywhere. This is why too often the standard of true luxury becomes diluted, while the literal sense has been lost to lower quality. In fact, this is no fault of the consumers, we have after all seen too many unreliable “shepherd boys” and heard too many false “cries for wolves”.
So are there still any reliable “shepherd boys” ? Loro Piana is one of the precious few.
Loro Piana is the jewel of Made in Italy, a leading family in cashmere and beyond, designing exclusive collections for men and women ranging from outerwear, knitwear, accessories, home and lifestyle, produced in Loro Piana’s own plants or through qualified suppliers. Their products are seldom decorated, but the designs are remarkable and generous, very suitable for those who like to move and who prefer a natural look. It is comfortable and elegant.
The company never turned away from its original values, the carefully researched material, the ancient craftsmanship and management spirit have been transmitted through six generations during the last few centuries. In the nineteenth century, the Loro Piana family from the little town of Trivero were already known for their business in wool fabric. In 1924, Pietro Loro Piana started his own business apart from the family, founding a brand new company that could keep up with the rapid changing times. It was based in Quarona, and to this day, it is still the headquarters of Loro Piana as we know it. In 1941, Franco Loro Piana, Pietro’s grandson took the leadership of the company. After WWII, he seized the fashion market to rapidly develop the brand and make Loro Piana the leader in wool fabrics for men and women. In the 70’s, the company was handed over to Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, the brothers – joint CEOs used to act alternately as chairman every three years. In 2013, the company joined the LVMH group, and after Sergio Loro Piana passed away, Pier Luigi Loro Piana became the deputy chairman, Antoine Arnault the President, and Matthieu Brisset the CEO.
Unlike the splashing stream that clatters its existence to the world, but rather like the silent lake with unfathomable depth, Loro Piana “makes the smallest noise, not disturbing the senses”. Their communication is low-profile. For them, it is enough to catch the attention of high standard clients who care about quality, taste and service. Pursuing the perfect quality , simple yet infinitely detailed, this kind of spirit transpires through every aspect of the company, from products and communication to management.
To fulfill their promise of providing the clients with the best woolen fabrics, Loro Piana’s footsteps are all around the world. They also have a direct presence in all the major markets where raw materials originate. The natural fibers discovered by Loro Piana are priceless treasures, like vicuna from Peru and Argentina, cashmere and baby cashmere from Mongolia and China, merino wool from Australia and New Zealand, etc.
Vicuna is considered the queen of the Andes, its hair is qualified as fibers from the gods, once used as royal tributes by the Incas. It has an average thickness of 12.5 to 13 microns. Each year, an adult vicuna can only produce 120g fiber usable for weaving. For but they are sheared every two years – 250 gr gross every two years – 125 gross yearly, this species nearly went extinct: consistent poaching left less than 5000 individuals. In order to continue protecting this wildlife, in 2008 Loro Piana also built a private natural reserve in Peru, succeeding in preserving them to repro-duce and quietly live on. Today, local vicunas are over 180 000.
Baby cashmere is obtained from the underfleece of the Hircus goat foals, with an average thickness of 13 to 13.5 microns, light and soft. It can only be harvested on a goat combed between 3 and 12 months old, which cannot supply more than 30 to 40 g. After 10 years of efforts, Loro Piana has convinced Mongolian and Chinese farmers not to mix baby goats’ highly valuable wool with the rest of the hairs from adults, thus granting the world with a unique chance to enjoy this rare and precious material.
Australia and New Zealand are well-known for their Merino wool. Each year, the productions of both countries are carefully sorted and sold at auction. Each time, Loro Piana purchases the finest lots, especially the topmost quality 1PP and the 30 to 50 best bales among the 3 million for sale. One bale among the finest is rewarded with the title of “World Record Bale” for its exceptional fineness. Loro Piana regularly purchases this bale.
Working together with Australian and New Zealand farmers for a long time, establishing trading partnerships, giving positive feedback and supporting their work, Loro Piana encourages them to keep producing the finest Merino wool. Without this support, the farmers would very likely go back to producing ordinary wool or selling meat, depriving us of the qualities of Merino. In conjunction with the Record Bale fabrics, a collection of “millesimé qualities”. This win-win collaboration: the Gift of Kings® line.
The Gift of Kings® originates from an eighteenth century European tradition. The King of Spain used to give the finest Merino wool as a present to the Saxon elector and the reigning families in France, England and Holland. Loro Piana made this regal symbol into a series of men’s outerwear, with neutral scarves and elegant jumpers, presenting the true connoisseurs with a unique gift. The Gift of Kings® series uses the world’s best quality Merino wool, thinner than regular Merino with no more than 12 microns in diameter. The result is an infinitely soft and delicate material, highly breathable yet thermo-regulating, it is hard-wearing, doesn’t wrinkle, and feels like a second skin. This series has to be preordered, and only 2000 pieces are produced, each one resulting from top quality material crafted by the best.
With this profusion of fine quality fibers, Loro Piana still hasn’t lost its passion for discovery. They also introduced a new finding: The Loro Piana Lotus Flower®, the fiber of lotus flower from Myanmar. Should one compare a textile company to a thriving tree, then collecting raw material would no doubt be its roots, the key element that defines the vital strength of the tree. Discovering one textile treasure after another, researching and reinventing, with decades of local collaborations and preservation policies, the mighty trunk of Loro Piana anchored its roots deeply in the ground, sprouting flourishing boughs and healthy leaves. It embodies the truly quiet shepherd, with flocks spreading across the world, working quietly, producing the best result at harvesting season.
© Loro Piana