Zegna took over a private mansion to showcase its capsule collection with Los Angeles-based luxury lifestyle brand The Elder Statesman on the opening day of Paris Fashion Week.
Guests including John Boyega, Maye Musk and Arnaud Valois explored a multistory installation that included an air chamber filled with swirling cashmere flakes, and a room lined with spools of colorful yarn, where knitters demonstrated their skills on vintage machines.
“It’s not a stunt. Those are similar to the machines that we have at home,” said Greg Chait, founder and chief executive officer of The Elder Statesman, known for its hand-finished cashmere sweaters in colorful tie-dye patterns.
The event marked the first collaboration for Zegna’s Oasi Cashmere project, launched last September as part of the Italian luxury menswear company’s wider commitment to make its entire textile offering traceable by 2030 — though artistic director Alessandro Sartori referred to the partnership as a “project” based on common values.
“We wanted to have something that tells a full story, so it’s totally traceable, it’s sustainable, but it’s also a project that works for tomorrow,” he said, explaining that he and The Elder Statesman’s creative director Bailey Hunter started from raw cashmere and built different exclusive yarns and treatments, like the ultralight cashmere pile of his yellow shirt.
The U.S. brand has its own vertically integrated platform, which comprises a team with more than 50 artisans including knitters, hand-dyers and embroiderers. “I’m like a fiber nerd,” Chait enthused. “Being able to dialogue and spend real quality time with masters of the craft, it’s invaluable. So much can come out of it.”
Combining classic blues and grays with the L.A. label’s exuberant palette of primary colors, the collection — teased during Zegna’s show at Milan Fashion Week last month — was designed to be worn by people of any age and gender, as demonstrated by the look book, shot in Milan on nonprofessional models.
The surface of cardigans and sweaters was scraped by hand and treated to look like fleece, while robe coats and pajama suits nodded to The Elder Statesman’s indoor-outdoor aesthetic. “It’s chic, even if relaxed, and I like that approach. I love when I see Greg and his team’s garments around the world,” Sartori remarked.
Pointing to the oversize corduroy suits and regenerated down puffer coats on display, the designer noted their construction was kept purposely minimal in order to facilitate future recycling. “We decide what is going to be the garment and after the garment,” he said. “It’s a long journey.”
The partnership itself took a while to develop, with Chait revealing talks started two and a half years ago. “It sounds long, but it’s not that long if you think that Zegna’s been around for 110 years, and we’ve been around for 15,” he mused. “It’s a dialogue, and this is the first iteration of that dialogue.”