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Zegna Fetes 100 Years With Panache
June 21st, 2010 @ 4:48 PM - Milan
One of men’s fashion's most storied brands, Ermenegildo Zegna, celebrated its 100th anniversary on Monday, June 21, with a swish and stylish double-header fashion show and a impressive retrospective exhibition in Milan.
Founded by Ermenegildo Gildo in 1910 after his watchmaker father acquired a couple of looms in an early example of entrepreneurship, today Zegna is a brand boasting sales of over one billion dollars. And it’s still all in family hands.
To celebrate its centenary, Zegna mixed heritage with innovation by staging two consecutive shows, held in La Triennale, which was also the setting of the Monday opening of a retrospective named, “Ermenegildo Zegna 100 Years of Excellence.”
Events opened with a display of the house’s main line, which was all about the fabric of this Milan season – seersucker, though instead of the usual contrasts of blue, or red, and white, there was lots of black and gray, or of navy and sky-blue.
Milan has also heralded the latest death of the tie, in an almost tie-free season, and they were largely banished at Zegna, though its bread and butter business is the sleek business suit. Instead, most models sported cotton or silk bandanas and racing stocks, and were all the more dashing for that.
Next came the far more fashion-forward Z Zegna collection, whose creative director, Alessandro Sartori, is currently rated the most sophisticated, new tailor in Italy. For next spring, he sees men in rugged linens and mixes of silk, cotton and even jute.
Sartori cut blazers and Eisenhower jackets with exposed seams and tapped into a major new look here, semi-transparent tailoring. By using silk chiffon mixes, he makes jackets super-lightweight and user friendly – they keep their shape and keep the wearer cool at the same time.
Featuring a palette of blood orange, cement, faded gray and rust, Sartori dreamed up some great new looks, even if his insistence on cutting most trousers two inches above the ankle seemed a tall ask for most men.
“I wanted the past and present of Zegna, but with the technological tailoring of the future,” Sartori said, as he received compliments backstage, dressed in a rough-hewn slate gray hemp suit.
Testifying to the longevity of this family business, the founder’s son, Angelo Zegna, a sturdy 88-year-old, took a bow at the show’s finale.
“For me it’s always about roots and winks. The roots are our tailoring, our great suits that give men a distinguished look. And the winks are our experimentation, our determination to try something new. And I think we saw plenty of both today,” smiled CEO Gildo Zegna, as the crowd of 1,500 drifted out of the event.