This season, as an ode to fashion’s new buzzword – sustainability – Zegna creates the hashtag #UseTheExisting as a mindset that starts from fabric and extends to clothing and beyond. Ermenegildo Zegna XXX is the laboratory in which artistic director Alessandro Sartori gives life to his latest creations. At the maison’s Winter 2020 show in gritty Milanese foundry, Sartori collaborated with American multi-media artist Anne Patterson to fashion a giant suspended cube made of thousands of ribbons cut from leftover Zegna fabrics, from where the collection appears.
Under this geometric forest of ribbons, a redefinition of tailoring captures the spirit of the season, as the Zegna sartorial know-how is explored in new, hybrid directions. The silhouette is neat and layered; the sum of the parts and garments is accentuated; ergonomic details such as flaps and patch pockets add a utilitarian slant. Three-button suits with slightly boxy, one-breast-and-a-half jackets and tapered trousers are worn under puffy blousons; zip-up overshirts with low collar lines replace traditional shirting. The tailored waistcoat makes a comeback, as a passe- partout, with or without the suit. A process of constant morphing defines evolved shapes: wraparound, belted blazers; voluminous coats with deep back pleats; coat/parka fusions; shirts that double as short-sleeved blousons.
Fabrics get more and more experimental, further expanding the #UseTheExisting approach in weaves and mixes of natural with synthetic fibres. Patterns such as moirè, macro check and digitalized landscapes are rendered in print, jacquard and devorè techniques - alone, or mixed - playing with layers and scales. Even plain fabrics like recycled cashmere flannel or Achillfarm, the suiting wool made entirely from the remnants of suit-making, are highly innovative. Calf leather is laser-patterned, hand-cut and printed, or distresses and tumbled. A special series of hand-woven, intensely tactile textiles has been developed with the San Patrignano community.
“At Zegna I have the privilege to experiment at every level, from the mix of fibres to the evolved tailoring shapes,” says Alessandro Sartori. “It is all about reshuffling or hybridizing categories, breaking boundaries in order to explore new territories: this is our new tailoring lexicon. One experimentation leads to the next, in one seamless dialogue, always keeping in mind that our art should always respect the earth. That’s our mission, as both humans and fashion-makers.”
The play of textures and shapes is captured by neutral tones of plaster, sand stone, cloudy sky, brown quartz and dark loden highlighted by touches of rose gold, copper, ember red and peacock blue and finished by matte black.
Accessories are pragmatic: bold-soled, polished boots and derbies, oversized bum-bags, soft bags. The newest brand icon INSTA-PACK, a functional crossbody bag inspired by photographers’ attitude, features sartorial details and a Zegna vintage logo from 1980 created by the graphic designer Bob Noorda.
The collaboration with Leica, the legendary German high-end manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products, translates into an array of camera bags, holders and straps that is part of a broader dialogue between the two brands and that will further evolve into photographic projects aimed at portraying modern masculinity through women’s eyes.Nicholas Tse Quincy Taylor Brown Rahi Shanina Shaik
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A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
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