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Years ago, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group played a crucial role in the development of the Pitti Uomo trade show. This season, the Italian men’s wear company returns to Florence to celebrate the relaunch of its Z Zegna line with a performance show on Thursday at the city’s Stazione Leopolda.
This story first appeared in the June 17, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Starting with this season, the Z Zegna brand will incorporate the Zegna Sport leisurewear label. Ermenegildo Zegna assigned the creative development of the Z Zegna line to a team guided by two of the company’s key people: Paul Surridge, former creative director of Z Zegna, and Murray Scallon, previously Zegna Sport’s head designer. Here, the duo discuss Z Zegna’s new course and offer a preview of their new collection.
WWD: How did the new Z Zegna collection come about?
Paul Surridge: The new Z Zegna is the consequence of a strategic decision to target the evolving and specific needs of the men’s wear market and today’s multifaceted lifestyle. The result is an intelligent solution for a contemporary wardrobe where inter-contamination and hybridization are rewarded by a sophisticated new aesthetic.
Murray Scallon: The new Z Zegna is born by the joining of strengths — the fashion-forward sartorial expertise of Z Zegna with the technically advanced, innovative sportswear of Zegna Sport. The merging and inter-contamination of sportswear and tailoring has resulted in new intelligent solutions for the contemporary wardrobe.
WWD: What was the main inspiration for spring/summer 2015?
P.S.: This season was different, in that it wasn’t only about seasonal styles or inspiration, but more the philosophy that differentiates a brand identity. It was necessary to think beyond the seasonal inspirations that help develop a regular collection, and focus on what the new Z Zegna brand represents, its identity and the philosophy behind the product.
At the core, there are five key elements that have helped shape and define the merger, the common thread that intrinsically connects the two brands. These are deformalization, sportification, hybridization, urbanization and innovation. From the outset of developing the collection, we wanted to take an observational approach, bringing us closer to the design solution and ultimately the final customer and his needs — to create a wardrobe founded on personal style and freedom of choice rather than a seasonal dictatorial style.
WWD: How did you combine the Z Zegna aesthetic with Zegna Sport materials in this collection?
M.S.: We decided to create a single collection that encompasses the concepts of sportification and formalwear — a combination of tradition and contemporary aesthetics that were previously represented by two different collections. A key product of the new Z Zegna which perfectly embodies the merger of the two lines is the innovative performance-enhanced Techmerino, which takes on a new Z Zegna attitude within a total wardrobe that is strong, iconic and energized. It’s a new product philosophy that blends color saturation and fashion appeal with absolute technical performance. Shapes are tailored but not restricting, technical details are refined and cosmopolitan, from tailored suits and blazers to sweaters, T-shirts and exclusive technical outerwear. The 100 percent pure superfine Techmerino wool is designed to be worn in direct contact with the skin to maximize its natural thermal and hydroscopic properties. Technically inspired details previously found on sportswear now surface on tailored garments, becoming a key identity signature to define the new Z Zegna brand.
WWD: What are the key looks in the collection?
P.S.: One is a two-button anthracite gray stretch cotton suit with elasticated drawstring waistband styled with a royal blue kite nylon pullover windbreaker. We paired it with a silver gray maxi parka in micro rip stock feather-weight nylon.
M.S.: There is also another two-button anthracite gray stretch cotton suit with elasticated drawstring waistband we paired with a soft-shell stretch blouson with waterproof, taped seams and laser-cut details. This will come matched with a maxi pentagon print jersey T-shirt worn over a short-sleeve stretch poplin shirt.