Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
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Why a Jacket Costs $42,000

Loro Piana has been spinning wool from cashmere goats, merino sheep and Andean vicuna for generations. Today it produces some of the world's most expensive clothing and accessories.  Since 2013, it's been part of LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate, which has pledged to preserve the Italian company's reputation for the highest quality. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

  1. Not Just Clothing
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    Not Just Clothing

    Single-kilogram spools of yarn will be transformed into capes or coats that can sell for $42,000. The company also gets about one-quarter of its revenue from selling textiles to other luxury brands.

  2. In the Warehouse
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    In the Warehouse

    Loro Piana gets its finest cashmere from baby goats in northern China and Mongolia. "From this material, which is very soft, to think that you produce a fabric, something that you use," says Pier Luigi Loro Piana, whose father established the company in 1924.

  3. Inspection
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    Inspection

    An employee checks a sample of wool for impurities at one of Loro Piana's plants at the foot of the Italian Alps.

  4. Global Team
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    Global Team

    A technician pores over an electronic microscope as she checks a sample of raw cashmere for imperfections. On the wall is a photo of her Chinese counterpart, who has already taken more than 1,000 measurements of another sample from the same batch.

  5. Watchful Eye
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    Watchful Eye

    Fibers are spun into fine yarn under an employee's watchful eye. Technology aside, it's a process that hasn't changed much for generations.

  6. The Atlantic Divide
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    The Atlantic Divide

    Dyed cashmere fleeces await processing. Blue is more popular with European customers, while Americans favor black.

  7. Keeping Tradition
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    Keeping Tradition

    LVMH has respected Loro Piana's attention to quality so far; being one of its 70 businesses has made the Italian company stronger, Pier Luigi says.

  8. Never too Careful
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    Never too Careful

    The sale has led to a new chairman and a new chief executive officer. Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who has stayed on as deputy chairman, says the most important thing is not to change the company's strategy.

  9. Retail Push
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    Retail Push

    Loro Piana operates 156 stores worldwide, including this one in Milan. It's closed at least two this year at a time when demand for luxury items is sputtering. It will open another, on the most fashionable shopping street in Paris, by the summer.

  10. Living Large
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    Living Large

    Mink and vicuna capes for women hang on display. CEO Matthieu Brisset wants Loro Piana to be known also for more affordable products.

  11. Variety
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    Variety

    Loro Piana sweaters can be bought for as little as 800 euros, Brisset says. He doesn't plan to reduce prices for cashmere sweaters, though Loro Piana has already expanded the range of what it sells online to include more lower-priced items.

  12. Details Matter
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    Details Matter

    Loro Piana controls every step in the manufacturing process. It even raises vicuna, a member of the camel family, on a 2,000-hectare nature reserve in Peru. 

  13. On the Rack
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    On the Rack

    One perception the company wants to change is a belief that the brand is out of reach for all but the super-wealthy. For fall-winter 2015, Loro Piana introduced products online whose prices were 30 percent lower than the cheapest items the previous season, according to marketing consultant ContactLab.