Black was the original colour of sheep bred in the past. It was only when farmers discovered that white wool could easily be dyed in a wide variety of colours that a selective breeding process began, making the white sheep the dominant strain.
To this day, the dark gene remains as a secondary trait in some white sheep, which is why a black or dark-coloured lamb is sometimes born in an otherwise white flock of sheep. The wool of these unwanted animals was never used, which inspired the phrase ‘the black sheep of the family’ – a saying used to describe an unwelcome, disruptive member of a group.
Loro Piana, however, recognised the value of the wool from dark-coloured Merino sheep and entered a partnership with a visionary breeder in New Zealand who had decided to reinstate this superb fibre.
Pecora Nera® is the result of 20 years of hard work by a New Zealand breeder determined to restore the dignity and importance of the black Merino sheep.
Through careful selection, crossing only the animals with the particular genetic heritage, the original characteristics of the sheep were slowly revealed, such as the bright, very strong wool and distinctive inherent colours ranging from mixed browns through to black.
Thanks to this enduring effort and passion, the Pecora Nera® breed now thrives in its original state, producing naturally dark, exceptionally high quality wool.
Pecora Nera® is ultra-soft, comfortable, durable and exceptionally light, ideal for wear in the transitional seasons. By using this exquisite and rare fibre, Loro Piana can produce extra fine garments and fabrics that possess unique insulating properties in a dynamic range of naturally dark tones.
Loro Piana is the sole purchaser of dark fleece from New Zealand, giving rise to an extraordinary range of knitwear, garments and fabrics which do not require any dye but instead embrace the warm, natural shades offered by the black Merino wools.
Much like baby cashmere, Pecora Nera® exemplifies the genius and visionary spirit of Pier Luigi Loro Piana: to find, promote and procure the finest raw materials in the world, and celebrate the gift of nature by crafting garments of the very highest level of quality and sophistication.