The soft, silky lustre of cashmere has been seducing consumers for centuries. Favoured by nobleman of the Roman Empire it has been periodically in vogue ever since; Beau Brummel popularized white cashmere waistcoats for men in the early nineteenth century, and Napoleon initiated a mania for cashmere shawls when he gave his second wife seventeen of them.
It is the flagship material for Loro Piana, one of the biggest players in luxury. So glorified are their fibres – only a select few of the most reputable menswear brands reap the benefits, with Cifonelli being one of them.
Cashmere comes from the fleece of the cashmere goat, found in Inner Mongolia, China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. It takes a single goat one year to produce enough cashmere for a scarf. The fibres, which are longer, smoother and straighter than sheep's wool, are removed with a comb from under the goat's chin, then spun into a filament ready to be woven or knitted.
According to Bain & Company, cashmere forms 7 percent of the $71.2 billion global luxury industry. And considering the challenges it faces from high demand, coupled with the surging temperatures as a result of climate change, particularly in Mongolia, an expertly crafted overcoat or knitted sweater from a distinguished brand shouldn’t be deemed expensive. Not only is cashmere soft-to-touch and comfortable but it retains warmth roughly three times more effectively than sheep wool. And because it’s not an overbearing fabric it doesn’t disrupt the silhouette of tailoring. For these reasons it is arguably the ultimate winter fabric to be imbued on tailoring and knitwear.
Having at least two luxurious cashmere sweaters available to you in the winter months will undoubtedly help alleviate the discomforts from frosty temperatures. Produced in Italy in a specialized family-owned workshop from pure cashmere, the new Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo medium weight cable design in either navy, beige or grey should be one of those. Not only do they feel undeniably luxurious, but they’ve been refined to be slim cut for a fitted silhouette, thus allowing them to be worn underneath a jacket or suit without too much bulk. Again, not thick, anything can be worn over the Edward Sexton rollneck sweaters. The legendary tailor to the Rock ‘n’ Roll set is often seen sporting one underneath a double-breasted jacket.