My husband is notoriously difficult to buy presents for. But for Christmas I picked a real winner that is both chic and supremely practical – and is about to come into its own in the freezing days of January. It is a lightweight yet ridiculously warm coat with a thermal prowess that is the result of a unique and hard-to-source filling called qiviut: musk-ox hair that is found only in Alaska, Canada and Greenland.
I was tipped off about Qiviut & Co – the brand founded by London-based American entrepreneur Robert Gould – through a friend; these gender-neutral coats, they said, are perfect for business travellers who favour a coat with a slim profile but require serious heat.
Gould’s passion for qiviut was fostered while living in Alaska for 38 years, but it wasn’t until he moved to London in 1994 that he decided to bring the ultra-soft fibre to a broader market. “I thought there was a niche for something new, unique and exclusive in the natural fibre category,” he says.
The result is a three-quarter-length coat (£975) with a polyester shell and a smooth cotton-jacquard lining. I was instantly won over by the aesthetics: think Barbour-meets-Loro Piana. Its currently only available in navy, in a limited edition of 500 – each one numbered and registered.
While my husband may not be particularly interested in sewing details, production numbers or the construction of his new garment, he is already a huge fan. Highlights for him – as well as the warmth, of course – are the detachable collar/hood and the fact that it works equally well with jeans as with a tailored suit.