MILAN — “This is a dream come true.” Describing the launch of Ermenegildo Zegna’s first bespoke service, an upbeat Gildo Zegna, chief executive officer of the family-owned company, said he had been mulling the idea of the project for years. Working with artistic director Alessandro Sartori allowed the brand to finally turn the concept into reality.
The service is offered out of an atelier in a historical palazzo in Milan on central Via Bigli, with a separate entrance that ensures privacy, but that is also connected to the men’s wear brand’s Via Montenapoleone flagship. “This is the ideal venue,” said Zegna on Tuesday, opening the doors of the sophisticated location, which covers 1,155 square feet, and is decorated with a Pietro Russo console; armchairs and a large wooden table by Ignazio Gardella; a metal armoire by Massimiliano Locatelli; lamps by Fontana Arte, and a rug inspired by Giò Ponti. Geometric decors pay homage to the storied Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan and the interiors hark back to the Fifties.
Six tailors work at the atelier, but they are set to travel around the world by appointment.
“Fashion runs too quickly now, propelled by a digital push,” said Zegna. “We must go back to the times when going to a tailor was a rite. We must change the pace.”
He waved away the see-now-buy-now trend as mainly a “marketing tool,” although he conceded the company itself had applied it to its “made-to-measure” service. At his runway show in January, Sartori presented a su misura, or customized, grouping for which customers could place orders the next day. Fifteen out of 45 looks that were shown on the catwalk were su misura and available in nine of the company’s stores globally.
To further clarify, Zegna explained that the made-to-measure service works with “a standard paper pattern modified for the customer,” while bespoke tailoring works with a pattern modeled specifically after the customer’s measurements.
Zegna’s bespoke service includes four fittings, 200 steps and 75 hours of work. The garment is delivered after three months.
“This is at the same time the utmost expression of tradition and the height of modernity,” said Sartori.
There are 1,000 variations of fabric, mostly from the company’s state-of-the-art mill and plant Lanificio Zegna in Trivero, Italy, and 230 kinds of materials for shirts. “Who else can do bespoke on fabrics? It would be silly for us not do it,” claimed the executive. The company repaired 10 vintage looms from the early 1900s, placing them at its headquarters, to work on the project.
Sartori emphasized the “intimate relation that is created between the customer, the tailor and the clothes.” The name of the customer can be applied on the selvage. “It’s like personalizing your car,” added Zegna. Customers have access to the company’s extensive fabric archives.
The designer also underscored “the single experience, hooked on the runway in terms of style.”
Prices range from 5,000 to 10,000 euros, or $5,339 to $10,677, for a suit. A shirt is priced at between 500 euros and 700 euros, or $534 and $747. Shoes, which were first presented in November at London’s newly refurbished New Bond Street flagship, are priced upward of 5,500 euros, or $5,872. The shoes are made by Gaziano and Girling, the decade-old British shoemaker that has a shop on Savile Row. The Zegna shoes, which take more than six months to make, come in nine styles, including a double monk, a dress oxford and a jodhpur boot.
Sartori underscored that customers are not limited to suits. While one model at the atelier wore a silk jacquard paisley jacket over elegant pants, others donned bespoke cashmere jogging pants, a cashmere coat, a nubuck waterproof jacket and an angora bomber jacket. Labels and buttons are also personalized.
“In the end, this is a service,” observed Zegna. “This is an incredible market, there are so many people who can’t find their size and also, we offer style advice. Alessandro himself is available to offer suggestions.”