MILAN — Angelo Zegna, son of the Ermenegildo Zegna company’s founder and father to the luxury brand’s current chief executive officer Gildo Zegna, died at age 97 on Aug. 19.
Angelo Zegna was a forward-looking entrepreneur who took the reins of the textile maker in the 1960s along with his brother Aldo, spearheading the Italian luxury company’s debut in ready-to-wear, as well as setting the foundation for the brand’s international expansion.
Born in Trivero in 1924, Angelo Zegna was a formidable man with acute business acumen, which he inherited from his father Ermenegildo. During World War II, he was sent to the battlefront, an experience that further forged his disposition and commitment to the family company when he returned. He joined the business early on, often stopping by the woolen mill established by his father in their hometown in the Piedmont region, surrounded by the lush foothills of the Italian Alps.
Despite his bond with his native land and the Biella, Italy, textile district where the Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna was established by his father, Angelo Zegna set his ambitions higher. He studied economics at university and could fluently speak English and German.
After World War II ended, he flanked his father in the business activities, taking the helm of the family company in 1966 with his brother Aldo. The first to believe in the great potential of a full men’s wear offering, he spearheaded the opening on a rtw production hub in Novara, Italy, 46 miles southeast of the Trivero mill. He capitalized on its textile expertise, which helped turn the Ermenegildo Zegna company into the men’s wear powerhouse it is today. The entrepreneur also masterminded the debut of a bespoke service, with the opening of a dedicated manufacturing hub in Switzerland.
In 2007, Angelo Zegna retired from the family company, handing down executive powers to his son Gildo, named CEO, and nephew Paolo, son of his brother Aldo, who took on the role of president, which had been held by Angelo until then.
He is survived by his children Gildo, Elisabetta, Benedetta and Anna.
A private funeral is to be held today in Trivero.