The Grammys aren’t the only stylish awards ceremony to take place this month. On 1 February, Loro Piana hosted the Loro Piana Record Bale Award in London. The annual award ceremony celebrates two farms—one in Australia and another in New Zealand—that have cultivated the finest bale Merino wool. This year’s ceremony was special: it announced the winners of the 2023 and 2022 editions of the prize, as well as a new World Record Bale.
That title, as well as the 2023 prize, went to the Australian farm Pyrenees Park, helmed by Pamela, Robert and Bradley Sandlant. The record-setting trio produced a wool fibre of only 10.3 microns. That’s finer than the 2013 world record of 10.2 microns, and much, much finer than human hair, which measures 80 microns.
Pyrenees Park’s farmers achieved the rare feat by shearing a selection of unique Merino sheep raised by generations of expert breeders. They are clearly committed to fine-tuning their methods: in 2022, they cultivated a 10.7-micron wool, for which Loro Piana rewarded them the 2022 edition of the prize.
The other farm that took the spotlight at the ceremony was the Visuela Farm in New Zealand, which cultivated a wool bale of 10.7 microns. That earned its owners, Yvonne and Barrie Payne, the 2023 Loro Piana Record Bale Award. The Paynes won the award for the year before as well, with their 11.0-micron wool. In a statement, the winners shared, “The Loro Piana Record Bale Award has been the catalyst required for us to grow the finest, and the best quality, natural fibre produced in the world.”
That dedication to excellence is what Pier Luigi Loro Piana, deputy chairman of Loro Piana, had hoped to inspire when he introduced the Loro Piana Record Bale Award in 1997. His family’s brand takes wool very seriously: this year’s World Record Bale will be preciously stored in a glass container at the Loro Piana Quarona factory. And the bale that had set the previous world record 10 years ago will now be used in the production of Loro Piana pieces for their most “exceptional clients”, said the brand.
It goes without saying that the Loro Piana Record Bale Award is a prestigious affair, and guests certainly dressed for it. Actor Andrew Garfield looked sharp in a navy pinstriped Loro Piana suit crafted from a blend of virgin wool and cashmere, while The Crown star Claire Foy sported the brand’s Sheri Jacket, marked by its wide, rounded lapels and supremely soft wool. There were other displays of sophistication at the event, which was also attended by aristocrats like Lady Amelia Windsor and Lady Delphi Primrose, as well as notable figures in the fashion industry like Business of Fashion founder Imran Amed and British milliner Stephen Jones. Guests made one thing clear that evening: quiet luxury can make quite a loud statement. See more photos of the Loro Piana Record Bale Award ceremony below.