Saturday 18th July

| BY Paul Toner

Ermenegildo Zegna: Menswear SS21

2020 marks Ermenegildo Zegna’s 110th anniversary. A pretty big deal if you ask us. Yet instead of spending the last few months celebrating, the Zegna team have been hard at work, producing over 250,000 protective hospital suits inside its factories in Switzerland and Italy. On top of this, like every brand across the globe, Zegna had to plot how it would navigate in a post-Covid world. Alessandro Sartori has never been a designer who relies on a gimmick; his clothes speak for themselves. So how would an Ermenegildo Zegna suit – the sort you can only truly appreciate when experienced in the flesh – fare in a digital-only realm? A realm that is bursting with AI, CGI, and virtual avatars?

Sartori decided it would be an apt opportunity to look to the house’s beginnings. Starting out as a textile mill before moving into clothes manufacturing, Zegna as a house has always had a deep-rooted connection to raw materials. The house also has its own nature reserve – Oasi Zegna – inside the Zegna headquarters in Trivero, where half a million trees have been planted since 1910. Sartori opted to use this vast, green space to hold Zegna’s digital, audience-less showcase. Dubbed Nature, Man, Machine, Sartori united the key pillars of Zegna’s history with a spring/summer collection that was light and energetic.

Instead of holding a traditional fashion show, Sartori had his Zegna army trek across a 3-kilometre route – venturing into forests, through traditional mills and eventually ending up on the roof of the house’s headquarters. The catwalk-in-nature featured some rather superb looks. Blazers with dramatic pockets were particularly great, as were silky suits in chocolatey browns. 35% of the fabrics used to create the collection were recycled, part of Zegna’s ongoing #UseTheExisting initiative. Oversized, slouchy trousers pooled effortlessly at the ankle, worn with buttery leather shirts, dropped-shoulder bomber jackets, single-breasted blazers and cut-out jumpers. Things came to an end with the whole Zegna team, including Sartori, coming together for a massive round of applause. A clap for acing the digital format, and for getting through a year no one could ever have imagined. We applaud you Zegna. Bravo indeed.