A strong commitment to ecosystems: Pier Luigi Loro Piana
Fabric of High Society
Textiles of rare and unorthodox prove- nance are gaining a newfound ubiquity on the catwalk, with Gucci’s mohair ponchos, Oscar de la Renta’s ramie tops and Michael Kors’s cashgora creations all turning heads and winning fashionista plaudits.
Qiviut (or qiviuk)
Softer and warmer than cashmere, qiviut is ideal for cooler locations. It is gathered by the Inuit from the Canadian Arctic Muskox,
Soon he had formed direct relationships with local populations around the Inle Lake who extract filaments from the flowers within 24 hours of being picked before rolling and weaving them together.
“This is an almost foregone antique tradi- tion, and it is probably the rarest eco-friendly fabric in the world,” explains Loro Piana. Any of the 1,500 fabrics subjected to the
Loro Piana treatment are manufactured in Italy. Every batch of fibre is analysed with a special microscope that magnifies up to 34,000 times, identifying individual strands and measuring their thickness.
With cashmere, each strand must be no
more than 500 nano microns in height. To put that into perspective, one nano micron equals
The downy coat of the angora rabbit is characterised by its thinness and fluffiness –
a thousand millionth of a micron, which in turn is a millionth of a metre. Around 450 readings are taken for every batch and lab checks are carried out on the average fineness and length of the fibre. Every millimetre of the fabric is then inspected by expert eyes. “The menders can detect even the small- est imperfection in the fabric and repair it by reconstructing the weft, eliminating any yarn imperfections and, in the case of wool- len fabrics, picking out small impurities with tweezers,” says Loro Piana.
The mender’s craft is a time-honoured skill
passed down from generation to generation that Loro Piana seeks to maintain with its own school.
“Every time a mender finds a flaw in a
a short-legged, shaggy behemoth that has been roaming the Earth for 600,000 years.
An all-season fashion fibre, mohair is pro- duced by Angora goats. With a high affinity for dye, mohair is used in a wide variety of fashion items, from socks and scarves to hats and sweaters.
ideal for creating hats, sweaters and gloves. Cashgora
The natural fibre of the cashgora goat, a crossbreed of Cashmere and Angora, combines the softness of cashmere with the dazzling texture of mohair.
Durable – eight times stronger than cot- ton – and one of the oldest fibres available, ramie was used in mummy cloth thousands of years ago.
50-metre piece, it is indicated by a marker,” he says. “Industry standards accept five markers per piece, but Loro Piana’s average is just 1.5 to two flaws per piece.”
It is only after these extensive checks that the fabric is ready for shipment to fashion houses or Loro Piana production. “These garments may be more expensive, but they are a good investment over time,” says Loro Piana.
“Our customers are quality addicts who go for the best life has to offer and this is often strictly connected to nature. We always want to find the best ways to obtain the finest raw material without compromising animals’, peo- ple’s and environmental safety, but preserving it for future generations.”
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