Piana is the largest cashmere and baby cashmere manufacturer in the western world.

The finest lots of this precious fibre come from Northern China and Mongolia, where Loro Piana has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Ulan Baatar.

This guarantees Loro Piana's direct presence in the markets and a privileged and personal relationship with suppliers - in this case, the fiery goatherders who breed Hircus goats.

Cashmere comes from the underfleece of these small and extraordinary animals.

In order to survive in their hostile habitat, through harsh winters and torrid summers, Hircus goats have developed an undercoat beneath their longer and rougher outer hair that consists of the softest and finest fibres - which have an average diameter of about 14.5 micron - whose countless tiny intervening spaces reduce thermal osmosis to a minimum.

Once a year in spring, when the weather is milder, the goatherders harvest this underfleece by means of a delicate combing procedure that is totally harmless to the animals.

About 250 grams of this underfleece is obtained from each animal every year which, after the coarser outer fibres are removed, becomes no more than 100 grams. That is why cashmere is so precious, although its value is also further increased by the difficulties in obtaining and controlling the fibre.

Loro Piana buys only the best and finest cashmere, at the end of a long and fascinating journey across boundless plains between April and May each year.