The Milan men’s shows hit a high — and very high-end — note as Stefano Pilati made his debut at Ermenegildo Zegna with a new couture range priced 50 percent above the brand’s flagship label.

An exclusive techno soundtrack and fast-paced video by a mostly Swedish crew accompanied a sophisticated-yet-sprightly collection, paraded on an oval runway ringed by giant video monitors.

Pilati already seems right at home in his post-Yves Saint Laurent career, exalting the Italian firm’s textile wizardry on the screens — fast-cut scenes of clanging gears, or skeins of yarn and tape measures unfurling – and on his precision silhouettes.

He opened the show with a series of long and lean suits, the jackets characterized by a high button stance and lapels something between notch and peak. While he kept everything suave and gentlemanly, elements of Norfolk and safari jackets, or quirky touches like slanted pea-coat pockets on suit jackets, gave the collection an attitude more leisure than boardroom. The slim pants on suits were often in the same fabric as the jackets, but embedded with subtle jacquard patterns.

The fast-paced show climaxed with a series of blousons and shorts, beach blankets trailing from some models’ hands, bringing to mind the Italian Riviera in the Sixties.

The color combinations were mixes of earthy shades, enlivened with powder blue, sage and Bordeaux. Arguably one of Europe’s most stylish men, Pilati injected a lot of his signature silhouettes and styling quirks:  oversized, robe-like coats swaggering open or cinched tightly; pants cropped well above the ankles; small foulards tucked inside lapels; sleeves pushed up just so.

With this luxurious and confident collection, Pilati has raised the ante. “I think the term couture applied to men’s wear is new. Hand-made has a true value,” he said. “These details add personality, mine inevitably, and that of Zegna as the world knows it.”

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