A Guide to Luxury: Vicuna and Guanaco

Vicuna and Guanaco are relatives of the Llama and now thought to be the ancestor of the Alpaca

Vicuna and Guanaco are both members of the camelid family, Vicuna are relatives of the Llama and now thought to be the ancestor of the Alpaca; they are found in the high reaches of the Peruvian Andes, where they grow extremely fine, dense coats to protect them from the heat of the day and the freezing temperatures at night.

Although they were protected by law in Inca times and only Inca royalty could wear clothing made from Vicuna, they were hunted to near extinction by the 1960s, with only 6000 remaining. In 1974 a protection order banned modern hunting and the population has now recovered to some 350,000. They must be captured from the wild and their fine coat can only be shorn every three years, making the cloth expensive and unique.

Guanaco, their neighbours in the Andes, are also rare, with some 700,000 living wild. They are herd animals, with female and their young herding in one group with a dominant male and other males living as a herd. They can run at 35 miles per hour across rocky terrain and can live to 25 years old. The wool spun from their double layered pelt provides amongst the softest and most luxurious of all cloths, considered second only to vicuna. Extremely warm, whilst light in weight, it makes glorious jackets, blazers, topcoats and suitings. As long standing customers will know, some years ago we obtained very limited lengths of this most luxurious cloth and matched it with solid gold and platinum buttons. It was an incredible success.

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