MILAN — Alessandro Sartori, artistic director of Zegna, knows his own mind, and is staying the course, despite the uncertainties impacting Milan Men’s Fashion Week generated by the spike in COVID-19 infections and the Omicron variant.
The designer said that the Zegna fall 2022 show — the first to bow after the rebranding and the company’s public listing in New York last December — will take place on Jan. 14 as scheduled, but with a smaller number of guests, between 50 and 100.
“For us, it’s very important to think of the show of the future and of a format that must take into account those guests who are not physically present — we cannot disregard them,” said Sartori in an exclusive interview.
He underscored that he had been working on the integration of the digital and live experience over the past few months, and that this decision was not caused by the worsening of the pandemic. “What is changing is only the number of guests,” he said.
Sartori believes “we can’t return to a 100 percent physical experience — ever. This must be integrated with a digital one. It is fundamental for us to think of those that are physically present in the room and those that are not. Only this way can you deliver a message that will be in continuity. Digital and live will blend into a seamless experience, we are convinced of this. The format will continue to evolve depending on the timing and on the external conditions.”
The designer has in the past experimented with unusual locations for Zegna — such as Milan’s majestic Centrale train station; a former industrial complex once home to Italy’s storied iron and steel company Falck; the Palazzo Mondadori, a monumental Oscar Niemeyer-designed structure, and the Brutalist university faculty building in the city’s Università Bocconi designed by Grafton Architects.
In July 2020, after the first wave of the pandemic in Italy, he opted for a new format to present the brand’s spring 2021 collection, blending cinematography, technology and digital techniques with real models and the clothes in what he called a “phygital” show, filmed and photographed.
This time, Sartori underscored he is evolving that format, “adding new layers.”
He was mum on the location of the show, only saying it’s “a special, unexpected venue,” but emphasized that the “immersive experience will be moving, creating emotions for those that live it but also for those that don’t, using very evolved cinematographic techniques that will help in the future. Compared with the past, the production is very different, with a film director taking part in the project.”