Cashmere is the glamorous and luxuriant wool that every fashion-conscious woman dreams of wearing, with its silken feel and its feather-light weight. It is combed from the wool of the underbellies of Kashmir goats in the frigid high deserts of Mongolia, when the seasons change warmer. At least 4 Kashmir goats will have happily shed their spare winter down for the warmth and comfort of a pure cashmere jumper, which is why cashmere is such a prized and precious natural fabric, and so wonderful to wear.
VIVIANE CHANTALE uses pure Mongolian cashmere. The warm properties and soft touch of these garments deliver their very desirability. The value for money in owning a luxuriously warm knitted cashmere top or shawl, pays homage to the little goat who shed four years of fluff for just one cashmere sweater.
Cashmere yarn is particularly soft, warm and enduring. Cashmere clothes become even more supple with time and wear, and have earned a Royal reputation over centuries. If the Kashmiri goat can survive the harsh Himalayan mountain climate and sub-zero temperatures, it is not then surprising to hear that cashmere gives eight times more warmth than the wool from a sheep.
Cashmere wool is the soft under-fluff that grows through the autumn to give extra warm protection for winter. The outer (guard) hairs protect from the elements, whilst the inner fluffy down maintains crucial warmth. This is what is combed or sheared out in spring and turned into yarn for your lovely warm garments.
The harsher the mountain climate, then the finer the cashmere wool. This is why Mongolia's goats provide the very best cashmere standard. Goats commercially reared on flatter land and less hard climates, are no match to the finest quality.
The origins, fineness and fibre-length of the cashmere yarn will dictate its price. The length of fibre is important as it is stronger and will help with less pilling on the garment. Also, less dye is required with better grade fibres, allowing more softness and smoothness in this luxury garment. The reality is that the more expensive the garment, the better quality the cashmere. Conversely, the cheaper the garment, the more inferior the fibre.
A luxurious cashmere garment, either knitted or woven, must have softness and smoothness to be of good and pure quality. With a cashmere sweater, the resilience, elasticity and substantial feel of the yarn will de-note its quality, even if it is lighter-weight. It isn't about weight and thickness alone. If the garment springs back into shape when you pull on the sides, this is good. If it is loose and limp, then this will betray a cheap quality item.