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Vicuña

For the Incas it was the "fibre of the gods", reserved for the emperor alone. Today vicuña remains the finest, rarest animal fibre in the world, a privilege for true connoisseurs.

The fibre of the gods
Vicuña fibre comes from a small member of the camel family, closely related to camels, alpacas and llamas, that lives wild in the Andes at an altitude of over 4,000 metres. This dainty, graceful animal cannot be reared in captivity, and each animal needs a hectare of land to survive. Its fleece is exceptionally fine - the fibre measures only 12.5 microns in diameter - creating a very effective barrier against the harsh winters in the Andes. Vicuñas are sheared from the spring onwards, as the weather gets milder, and they are released immediately back into the wild. The shearing takes place every two years and each animal yields just over 200 grams of fibre. These figures give a clear picture of just how rare this outstanding fibre is, a raw material whose history is closely intertwined with that our brand, and our passion for safeguarding excellence.

The natural golden brown shade of vicuña fleece comes to the fore in garments and accessories created for those who wish to experience the "fibre of the gods" pure.

The Queen of the Andes
The Incas, who greatly revered the vicuña, called it the "queen of the Andes". In that period \(until the sixteenth century\), there were over three million vicuñas in the mountains of Peru, but by the mid 1960s, only 5,000 remained: first the conquistadores, and then poachers, ruthlessly exterminated the animals to get hold of their precious fleece, bringing the species to the brink of extinction. Although trade in vicuña fibre was banned in the mid 1970s to discourage poaching, and the first reserves were established, the real turning point came in 1994, when the Peruvian government selected an international partner to entrust with reintroducing this precious material onto the market, to be sourced only from animals shorn alive and then released. That partner, at the head of a consortium, was Loro Piana. Thanks also to the involvement of the Andean communities which are entrusted with the task of safeguarding the animals in exchange for the proceeds from the shearing, the vicuña has been saved. Since 1994 we have continued to work on new projects to safeguard these animals, from creating Peru's first private nature reserve in 2008, to the current rainwater harvesting initiative, Progetto Acqua, also in Peru, to projects in Argentina and Bolivia, where we source superlative quality fibre from animals certified as legally shorn, thus helping put a stop to poaching, in the name of sustainable excellence.

The natural shade of vicuña calls for carefully formulated dyes to obtain the desired colours while preserving the fibre's extraordinary light-weight softness. The natural chestnut brown of the fleece lends unusual nuances to black, blue and burgundy shades.

Two hands holding raw vicuña fibre.
A privilege for connoisseurs
Wearing a garment crafted from vicuña means experiencing unique softness and lightness, as well as incredible rarity, given the tiny quantity of fibre available worldwide every year: around 8,000 kilos of raw material, which once treated for processing, goes down to just over half of that amount. Loro Piana offers vicuña both in its natural shade, which ranges from golden brown to the ivory of the "white vicuñas" of Bolivia and Argentina, and in a range of deep hues - blue, burgundy, green and black - expertly formulated to preserve the extraordinary softness of the fibre. The number of items produced each year is naturally limited, making this a privilege for true connoisseurs.
Vicuñas walking across rocky terrain.
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