As the biggest tailoring player, Zegna’s direction is often an indication of where the suit is going. Is the suit dead? Is it coming back? In a menswear scene that is still heavily dominated by street and sportswear, Alessandro Sartori presented a collection that perhaps answered these questions.
But more than a designer, Sartori is also a craftsman and a showman.
It was a mesmerising sight at the Zegna show. As the sun set against the Palazzo Mondadori by Oscar Niemeyer, the warm orange rays of the Lombardian sun bounced off the reflective runway, creating a glow that was simply magical. Sartori knew that he had only approximately 14 mins to use that sunset to create that magic. And the result was an atmospheric one. The gigantic structure created a grand impact; yet by simply admiring from afar, the building exudes a certain lightness, much like the clothes Sartori showed on the runway.
"Creation for me always stems from a technical challenge. I am presenting shapes that are bold and voluminous, yet very light, in layers of meshes, wools, silks,” says Sartori. “I found the same challenge in the architecture of this space. It is the perfect place to unleash the Zegna crew of individuals who recognize themselves in the XXX logo, which runs from the clothes to the set-up, unifying the message: a symbol of couture craft that is also the most personal and unexpected expression of Zegna.”
What was perhaps the most unexpected was how unsuit-y the collection was. For starters, the Triple-X logos were abundant: debossed on leather sweatshirts, knitted on collars, stitched on sneakers, and printed on leather bags and even an iPhone cover. And then there were garment-dyed kind of denim, suede mesh tops, boxy shirts and jackets in double sleeve, ankle-hugging joggers, playful (but random) printed objects on jackets, coats, shirts, chunky sneakers, hybrid footwear, leather visors – all aesthetically pleasing, highly wearable, and very unsuit-y. It is a new brand language spoken to a post-millennial crowd looking something more substantial that just a logo tee.
But of course, there are plenty of suiting looks too, in a Sartori kind of way: where a tailored jacket is paired with joggers, a bomber worn with a slack, or a multi-toned check jacket worn over a different check pair of trousers. So, is the suit dead? Perhaps not. Sartori is simply imposing new structure over the old, and he does it pretty damn well.
See all the looks here.