Outdoors versus indoors; social relations versus intimacy. Before the pandemic, they were clearly differentiated, but now they seem to have blended. Even if normality will return eventually, our reality will be different since our desires and habits have changed. Interpreting and possibly anticipating all of this is one of the hardest tasks of fashion designers, who are supposed to capture society’s signals and transform them into desirable products and compelling messages.

Alessandro Sartori certainly carried out this task, presenting a fall collection titled “The (Re)set.” Why reset? Because what worked yesterday doesn’t work today and will no longer work tomorrow.

For a storied house such as Ermenegildo Zegna, this indicates a major change in mindset, and an acceptance that traditional formalwear has lost much of its relevance for today’s consumer. But not so the incredible sartorial techniques behind formalwear. Leveraging those skills, Sartori tried to project the brand into a new world — one where elegance walks hand-in-hand with comfort and where the boundaries between previously compartmentalized merchandising categories blur to welcome more functional, hybrid garments.

The designer chose two main pillars to build the brand’s new chapter. The first was an innovative cashmere jersey fabric that Zegna developed. It resembles traditional flannels and felts while offering comfort and lightness. The designer employed it to create charming, deconstructed suits, the pants cut in generous silhouettes and matched with shirt-like outerwear. There were also chic kimono-style belted jackets and oversize blazers with no canvases or linings. In sophisticated tones of camel, tobacco, petrol green and dark teal, these fluid suits, shown also on female models — a novelty for the brand — will also be available in Ermenegildo Zegna’s stores in small sizes for a genderless approach.

The second pillar was knitwear, something Sartori said offers functionality, coziness and protection. Sweaters ranged from lightweight underpinnings to thicker styles with polo or shawl collars.

Mainly working in solids, the designer introduced some traditional jacquard motifs, which were revamped to create more vibrant patterns with a 3D effect.

The fluidity and modernity of the lineup came through in Sartori’s polished and lively fashion film. He combined the dynamism and rhythm of a runway show, shot outdoors in different areas of Milan amid cutting-edge architecture, with indoor scenes of everyday life filmed in a series of interconnected small rooms.

While surely everyone is missing live events, Zegna found a way to capture this unsettling moment, hold one’s attention and reveal its standout collection with all its details and Sartori’s exacting silhouettes.

 

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