Fashion

Loro Piana's Baby Cashmere Is Incredibly Soft and Incredibly Rare

The ultra-fine wool can only be harvested once in a lifetime.
IMAGE Allie Holloway
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In the harsh climate of the Alashan Mountains of Inner Mongolia, survival is all about adaptability. The Capra Hircus—aka the cashmere goat—has evolved its own canny layering system for dealing with temperatures that can range from well below freezing in the winter to sweltering in the summer.

The goat grows its wool in two layers: a courser outer layer and a much finer inner layer, the caprine equivalent of wearing a sweater under a down jacket. The thick outer layer is naturally shed at the beginning of summer, and in June, for a few short weeks, the much finer inner fibers are exposed. 

IMAGE: Allie Holloway

It was this unique quirk of evolution that prompted Pier Luigi Loro Piana, of the illustrious Italian textile family, to create, 10 years ago (and that after 10 years of painstaking research), the brand’s Baby Cashmere program. Using only the even finer fibers from baby goats—meaning each goat only provides one harvest in its lifetime—the process yields just 30 grams per animal. The fibers are a tiny 13.5 microns thick, compared to the positively chunky 15 microns of adult goats. (A human hair, by comparison, is about 75 microns thick.)

Scollo V Classic Sweater Loro Piana, loropiana.com 

Spun and knitted back in Italy, the Baby Cashmere linewhich for men comes in about 20 colors, including the undyed natural snow white color of the goatsrepresents the pinnacle of fashion’s quest for sustainable luxury.

And given the scarcity of the yarn and the complexity of harvesting it, these sweaters are always going to be spendy. A scarf, for instance, will run you $795, while a topcoat clocks in at $8,595. Sweaters, of which we're particularly fond, populate the lower-middle end of the spectrum at $1,195.

If you've got the dough, and a taste for the finer things, it's about as good as it gets.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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