Vicuña, the rarest, finest animal fibre in the world, comes from a small Andean camelid, whose story is closely bound up with that of Loro Piana. Graceful and lithe, the vicuña is known as the “Queen of the Andes”. It was revered and protected by the Incas who did not permit it to be hunted, and the magnificent fibre obtained from its fleece could only be used by the emperor and his family. Yet the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors led to a devastating massacre: eager to trade in its superlative fibre, the invaders almost brought the vicuña to extinction. Despite numerous conservation attempts over the years, poaching continued at an alarming rate: by the 1960s the number of vicuña had fallen to no more than five thousand, making it an endangered species.