Posted on February 28 2019
Spring is almost here, and our new arrivals from Ermenegildo Zegna have arrived to make sure you are ready. Our Men's Buying Team was front and center for their show in Milan last year at the Oscar Niemeyer building. This inspiring collection was described perfectly by Vogue's Luke Leitch below.
It was a spellbinding sight. The richly apricot rays of the lowering Lombardian sun bounced from the lake we were sitting on—thanks to a Zegna-built mirrored bridge—only to suffuse the spectacular Oscar Niemeyer building alongside us with a glow that no Instagram filter could ever emulate. After this spectacular Ermenegildo Zegna show, and the no less spectacular sunset with which it coincided, it was all too tempting to rest one’s chin on one’s knuckles, squint thoughtfully at the fish twisting and rising for fly in that beautiful lake, and consider this: Did the dusk ahead signal the death of the suit?
Okay, that’s an OTT opener—almost as OTT as some of the outrageous fabrications in this collection by Alessandro Sartori. However, in a show where there were many, many things to notice, the most urgent clothes-related observation was that there was nary a suit-suit to be seen. That the most evident was the final look, a pink two-piece printed with souvenir emblems of the craft upon which this biggest sartorial fashion company in the world (money-wise) is based, seemed extra emblematic of a sense of passing. So too, in its way, did the location. Construction on this fabulous headquarters of the Italian publishing dynasty Mondadori began in 1968, the same year Zegna produced its first ready-to-wear suits. Niemeyer’s radically modernist arches seem to rise from the water that faces them, and to float disconnected from the editorial offices (for magazines and books, ironically) that contained the very engine rooms that paid for the building’s construction.
Similarly, this collection only really referenced the suit as a backdrop, something from which the most eye-catching pieces here seemed detached. These included the track pants (divisible into shorts via zipper), jackets (admittedly tailored, but softly-softly), and bombers that came in meshed leather. Then there were the leather sweatshirts debossed like so many pieces here with the triple-X brand language of Zegna’s couture iteration, the sign that this house wants to be its swoosh. These sweats were placed over single-seam softly pleated pants that were marvels of engineering that took immense pains to deconstruct the formal pant into a pant that looked informal. The garment-dyed kind-of denims, treated voile outerwear, super great stadium-length mesh jacket, and sneakers (two new styles, one notably lovely for its wide stitches on tech mesh) were all highly pleasing, and utterly unsuit-y.
Of course, there was conventional sartorial savoir faire, but often it came hidden beneath punchy flourishes of pattern or sportswear misdirections of silhouette. A near-the-end multi-toned check jacket worn over a different check pair of track pants, for instance, was the product of an outrageously complicated blanket-inspired weaving process it gave me a mild headache to listen to Sartori explain. And Sartori is still committed to the idea of the suit, but also firmly believes in his update, the “bomber suit,” that allows the wearer to mix tailored jacket with bomber with track pant with slack. These clothes were all made for the models once they had been cast, he said, so they at least semi-deserved this collection’s couture ascription.
But what about sartorial, what does that really mean? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s “relating to tailoring, clothing, or style of dress” and is derived from the Italian sartor, or tailor. If there was ever anyone who deserves the label tailor it is Sartori, whose name it is already, and who was apprenticed into the business while still at high school. What sartorial does not dictate, however, is the exact nature of the clothes to be tailored; it is only our sense of tradition that insists on a canvassed shoulder, a notch lapel, or an inelastic waist.
Sartori is putting both technical rigor and artistic reverie into the sartorial craft after which he is named. He’s trying to impose new structures over old. Like Niemeyer, he loves a grand gesture—and these are far harder to make with blousons than they are with buildings. Scratch your chin and stare at the fish long enough and you get it: It’s not the dusk Sartori’s trying to push towards, but the dawn.
Want to see the collection in person? Join us March 1 and 2 for our A.K. Rikk's X Ermenegildo Zegna event. We'll have the spring collection and the opportunity to customize your wardrobe from suiting to leisure wear with Made-to-Measure specialists from Italy and New York. Additionally, we will have Macallan tastings of three variants: 12 YO Double Cask, 15 YO Triple Cask, and Rare Cask. Grab a drink and explore the world’s leader in men’s luxury with us.