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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



.

Zegna, Technical and Chinese

Godfrey Deeny
January 19th, 2011 @ 00:11 AM - Milan

One thing that will always set Milan apart from any other fashion season for men’s clothes is the sheer technical bravura of many of its great houses, of which we received a timely reminder on Tuesday, Jan. 18, when viewing the pioneering collection of Z Zegna, the last important show of the four day season.

This collection’s smartest trick – a brilliant new technique called needle punch knit, where two separate pieces of material are attached with a micro stitching. This method was used with considerable aplomb in a series of gutsy leather over cashmere jackets, all of them button-less thanks to hidden magnetic clasps.

Very superhero and futurist detective in style, they were sculpted like some sort of historic monument to a cosmonaut or sky trooper. Needle punch knit also played a key roll in some great new knits, finished with erratic cable detailing, a major Milan trend.

That said, the collection was if anything a tad too experimental – massive chunky coats and bulky padded jackets were certainly novel and intriguing, but they seemed a tad out of step with the lean aesthetic of Z Zegna’s highly talented designer Alessandro Sartori. And maybe a different setting could help this brand better express its uniquely modern vision.

Z Zegna, the avant-garde top line of the Ermengildo Zegna men’s fashion empire, was merely following in the steps of this highly self-confident company. On Saturday, Jan. 15, the house staged fashion first Live D runway show, hiring a major league Hollywood technician, Steve Leman of "Avatar" fame, to create a virtual China in the house’s high-tech headquarters in south Milan.

“China is the project our generation, not just the next couple of years,” CEO Gilo Zegna said, adding that company would add a further ten boutiques in China this year, and boast over 100 there by 2014.

Projected models appeared to walk along the Great Wall of China or past Shanghai’s legendary Bund, before they appeared on the actual catwalk in a show entitled “In the Mood for China.”

Using traces of a famed Chinese mural, the show climaxed with great panache – a series of tuxedos and dress shirts, all in silk and using the imagery. Let’s hear it for a smart new statement of global chic.

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