CASHMERE

25 YEARS OF PASSION

For centuries, cashmere has been considered a noble material. When Thierry Gillier adopted it in the 1990s, the cashmere jumper was a desperately sensible style. Very old school, it represented unshakeable conformism. For the founder of Zadig&Voltaire, it was time to transcend this material and dust off its image.

In 1997, Thierry Gillier founded Zadig&Voltaire. He wanted to revolutionize luxury goods by sharing his casual, rebellious vision of fashion. The style he was about to create was characterized by the use of cashmere, which would be decisive for the brand in the future. He dreamed of popularising the material, making it both cool and sexy. Accompanying women every day by coming up with new ways to wear it. He saw its softness as key but he needed to reinvent it; out with the round neckline and ultra figure-hugging knit, he wanted to get rid of the bourgeois look cashmere couldn’t seem to shake! He had plans for a much more rock ‘n’ roll cashmere jumper.

Voltaire program - made in Voltaire respect product

The brand spent years working on building a new identity for cashmere. In between our Parisian studio’s ideas and creation in the workshops drawing on dedicated know-how, endless prototypes were produced and fittings took place to make this unique cashmere. Feather cashmere would be the brand’s first innovation. Its gauge, i.e. measurement of its density, was adapted to ensure incomparable lightness. Cashmere is no longer worn as a practical jumper, but rather with nothing underneath as a sensual, insolent fashion statement in its own right. The nobility of the fabric gained visibility and it became a key piece; every wardrobe needs a casual-chic cashmere piece. Slip your hand under the fine, lightweight knit and you’ll see that it lets the light through.

After Cecilia Bönström’s arrival, she continued to work on cashmere with new-found enthusiasm. We created it in a rainbow of colors, played with the level of distressing that seems to tell a story, even when the product is new. We made the knit even looser so that it would show off a little skin underneath. The intarsia technique allowed colored threads to be added during the weaving process, creating a stylized camouflage effect. The same technique allowed us to add the slogans “ART IS TRUTH”, “JE M’EN FOUS” or “L’AMOUR EST DECLARE”. Runway styles, often spectacular, can be embellished with diamanté, hand-embroidered, in higher or lower gauges, whether jumpers, ponchos or long coats. The sleeves were made systematically longer to sit longer than the jacket and coat sleeves. Thicker cashmere jumpers like Marcus, Alma or Malta became brand must-haves. In the heart of what Cecilia Bönström calls the “laboratory”, the studio turned cashmere into more than a luxury product, a forward-looking product.

Zadig & Voltaire - environmental standards
Voltaire program - FW22 made in Voltaire respect products

The cashmere goat was named after the mountainous country in the Indian sub-continent where its weave was developed industrially in the 15th century. However, the goats actually mainly lived in Inner Mongolia and the Himalayan highlands of Ladakh and Tibet. They flourish in this extreme climate and fragile ecosystem where it is -40°C in winter. When the animals molt in spring, naturally losing their winter coat, farmers comb their secondary down which grows under the permanent hairs. The fiber is six times finer than a hair but is extremely hardwearing. The price of cashmere varies from year to year depending on the quantity and quality of the material, which in turn is dependent on the climate. The goats which produce the cashmere used by Zadig&Voltaire are reared in Inner Mongolia, in ideal climatic conditions, which guarantees the incomparable quality of the fibres used for the Zadig&Voltaire collections.

Aware of the environmental and societal issues, Zadig&Voltaire formalized its commitments under the VoltAIRe Programme in September 2021. As cashmere is one of the brand’s key materials, it chose to become a Good Cashmere Standard member. This initiative strives to develop a sustainable cashmere network through a standard guaranteeing the welfare of the goats, the protection of natural resources and the traceability of the material, while supporting the local communities of farmers who produce it.

All of the cashmere knits now developed for the Zadig&Voltaire collections are certified by the Good Cashmere Standard, allowing the brand to propose products which reflect its ethical vision of luxury.

Zadig & Voltaire - environmental standards
Voltaire program - FW22 made in Voltaire respect products


1. Washing

Zadig&Voltaire cashmere can of course be hand-washed. However, we recommend machine-washing 20 degrees celsius. We recommend placing them inside a pillow case that is securely closed, without buttons which could cause damage - if possible individually, or even better, in a washing net or laundry bag. The spin cycle should not exceed 400 spins per minute and in any case it is important to never use softener and not leave cashmere pieces soaking in water.

2. Care

By using a detergent specific to care for cashmere, machine-washing ensures the product will pill less over time. It is not necessary to wash cashmere each time you wear it and we recommend avoiding wearing several days in a row to allow the material to breathe and recover. Machine-washing means that the excess material gradually escapes, this is natural for cashmere as it is a living material which evolves over time.

3. Drying

At the end of the cycle, the cashmere garment must be immediately removed. Delicately remove water in a terry cloth towel. Dry flat to avoid the fabric losing its shape. It must be air-dried, away from sunlight and sources of direct heat, for example a radiator.

4. Ironing

It can be ironed at maximum temperature of 110 degrees celcius while ensuring you do not stretch the material. When our cashmeres are looked after with care, it makes them softer over time and ensures their durability.