The Fibre of the Gods
The vicuña is a slender animal with lithe, agile legs, a long neck to enable it to keep watch for predators, and a small head with narrow, pointed ears. The smallest member of the alpaca, llama and guanaco family, it stands under a metre tall at the shoulder and rarely weighs more than 50 kilograms.
This shy, graceful camelid has inspired legends and stories, achieving mythical status: it could not be hunted and the sumptuous fibre obtained from its fleece could only be used by the emperor’s family and the highest dignitaries.
Perfectly adapted to the cold, dry climate of South America’s uplands, thanks to its warm fleece and rich blood capable of absorbing the scarce oxygen at these altitudes, the vicuñas live in flocks on plateaus that range from 3,800 to 4,800 metres above sea level in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, feeding on the few grasses that manage to survive in the harsh, arid conditions of the Andes.
To survive the freezing winters and scorching summers this precious camelid has developed a characteristic golden underfleece that is made up of hairs that are ultra-fine – on average only 12.5-13 microns in diameter - short and extremely dense, with extraordinary temperature regulating properties. The outer coat presents long, strong hairs that protect the animals from the elements. In Argentina, where the climate is even more extreme, the fibre is even finer and lighter in colour, almost white, blending into the glacial hues of the puna landscape.
Gathering and processing this extremely rare, exclusive fibre is a time-consuming process carried out according to tradition. The animals are only sheared once every two years, with an adult producing around 250 grams of hair. After the fleece is dehaired – the process to remove the coarser guard hairs – this works out to only 120-150 grams.
The annual global supply of vicuña fibre is less than 8,000 kilograms. Loro Piana works with this fibre to create exclusive garments of outstanding value: its takes the fleece of one vicuña to make a scarf, six for a sweater and a total of 35 for a coat.
- Vicuna: the new experience in ArgentinaLoro Piana started the Argentina project in 2013.
- Vicuña: the fiber of the GodsWith a diameter of only 12.5-13 micron, vicuña is the finest fiber that exists.
- Vicuña: the Peru experienceFrom the Andes, this animal produces the finest fiber in the world.
- Vicuña Ladieswear HighlightsThe most precious fiber in the world is worn by the Loro Piana lady.
- Vicuña Menswear HighlightsLoro Piana dresses gentlemen with the most noble fiber in the world.
- Loro Piana and the Vicuña Vicuña, the rarest, finest animal fibre in the world, comes from a small Andean camelid, whose story is closely bound up with that of Loro Piana. Graceful and l...
- The Queen of the Andes: History The “Queen of the Andes” is a graceful, regal creature. At the end of the fifteenth century, in the days of the Incas, the vicuñas were free to graze on the ste...
- The Dr. Franco Loro Piana Reserve Driven by its passion for outstanding raw materials and its keen awareness of environmental issues, for more than 20 years Loro Piana has supported a structured...
- Rituals and Legends The vicuña has always been surrounded by an aura of mystery and magic: the Incas deeply respected the animals, believing they possessed supernatural powers. In ...
- A New Experience: Argentina On the strength of the successful creation of the Dr. Franco Loro Piana Reserve in Peru in 2008 five years later Loro Piana ventured into the icy uplands of nor...