The most highly-prized wool comes from the Merino breed of sheep, which originated in the Mediterranean basin and was introduced to Australia and New Zealand in the late eighteenth century where the animals have always been raised with dedication and innovative techniques that ultimately led to significant improvements in wool quality as well as production.
Today every Merino sheep produces up to 1 kg of superfine fleece.
After careful checks and classification, the fleece is sold at auctions held every year from September to May in the various sorting towns. In these markets, Loro Piana always buys the best lots, especially Top Line 1PP (1PP = 1 plus plus, the highest level of fineness and style) or the 30-50 best bales from the 4 million offered every year at the auctions.
And only one of these can become a Record Bale, i.e. the bale of the world's finest wool, which Loro Piana has been regularly buying since more than 20 years and from which obtains limited series fabrics.
In connection with the company's constant search for excellence and in order to encourage the production of increasingly finer wools, Loro Piana in 2000 established an award aiming to acknowledge the professionalism of the breeders and further reward their commitment for producing higher quality wools.
Every year Loro Piana awards the two growers who have produced the finest bale in Australia and New Zealand respectively, the two countries that historically produce the finest quality wools. From these two growers, the one that has produced the bale with the lowest microns that complies with the parameters of weight, length and strength set out in the competition regulations will be awarded. Only a grower who wins the title three times consecutively can keep the prize indefinitely.
The award is a miniature replica of one of the artist Pino Castagna’s most famous bronze sculpture (The Wall), which is made of steel and concrete and stands on the lawn of the Loro Piana plant in Quarona, Italy.
This incentive and recognition validates Loro Piana's work with the growers of superfine wools, and has enabled unprecedented levels of quality to be achieved.
The current holders of the award are Australian growers from the Pyrenees Park sheep farm for their bale of 10.3 microns.
Loro Piana is the largest cashmere and baby cashmere manufacturer in the western world.
The finest lots of this precious fibre come from Northern China and Mongolia, where Loro Piana has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Ulan Baatar. This guarantees Loro Piana's direct presence in the markets and a privileged and personal relationship with suppliers - in this case, the fiery goatherders who breed Hircus goats. Cashmere comes from the underfleece of these small and extraordinary animals.
In order to survive in their hostile habitat, through harsh winters and torrid summers, Hircus goats have developed an undercoat beneath their longer and rougher outer hair that consists of the softest and finest fibres - which have an average diameter of about 14.5 micron - whose countless tiny intervening spaces reduce thermal osmosis to a minimum.
Once a year in spring, when the weather is milder, the goatherders harvest this underfleece by means of a delicate combing procedure that is totally harmless to the animals.
About 250 grams of this underfleece is obtained from each animal every year which, after the coarser outer fibres are removed, becomes no more than 100 grams. That is why cashmere is so precious, although its value is also further increased by the difficulties in obtaining and controlling the fibre.
Loro Piana buys only the best and finest cashmere, at the end of a long and fascinating journey across boundless plains between April and May each year.
The long and complex buying process lasts for more than a month, at the end of which the bales coming from Mongolia are transported to Ulan Baatar, where they are checked in the laboratory and undergo the first phases of ennoblement - dehairing and washing.
The Chinese bales are meticulously checked in the laboratory in Beijing, and it is only when all this is complete that the purest and finest bales are sent for subsequent working to Italy, where Loro Piana owns the largest laboratory in the world for analyzing and controlling the quality of cashmere.
The cashmere that reaches Loro Piana's own standards of excellence is then transformed into superior quality yarns, fabrics, accessories, garments and knitwear, all of which is produced through a combination of sophisticated technology, a profound knowledge of textiles and a lifelong commitment to achieving the highest possible quality in the final product.
Loro Piana puhul on tegemist maailma suurima kašmiirkanga tootjaga, kes valmistab kõrge kvaliteediga kašmiiri- ja villakangaid juba kuuendat põlvkonda eksklusiivselt Itaalias. Loro Piana on üks väheseid kangatootjaid, kellel on luba ülihinnalise Vikunja villa kasutamiseks oma toodangus.