Pecora Nera®

Loro Piana has made the extraordinary story of the dark coloured Merino sheep its very own. These extraordinary animals are the result of 20 years work of careful selection on a New Zealand farm, which has restored the dignity and importance to these black sheep following the discovery that this was the original colour of the sheep bred in the past.

White sheep are actually the result of the man-made selection that occurred after it was discovered that white wool could be dyed in a wide range of colours. However, the dark colour remained as a secondary genetic characteristic in some of the white sheep, which is why black lambs are sometimes born into the flocks although their wool is not used. This is the origin of the term "black sheep" which is used to describe a negative, disruptive member of a group.

A New Zealand breeder focused on these dark sheep, and only crossed specimens with this particular genetic heritage. This is how the original characteristics of these animals was revealed, such as the bright, very strong wool and distinctive natural colour that varies from mixed browns through to black.

For several years now, Loro Piana is the sole purchaser of dark sheep fleeces from New Zealand, which has given rise to an extraordinary array of fabrics and finished garments that do not need to be dyed. Instead their designs maximize the warm range of colours offered by Merino black wools.