This year marks the 110th anniversary for Ermenegildo Zegna – and what a year it has been. Through these tough times, we all had to evolve and adapt. Zegna too. And the label rightly used this time to also question and reassess its core values, looking to a deeper and more personal level still by exploring the reasons of one’s own presence in this world, and how one’s individual actions can affect the wellbeing of it. Heavy stuff!
The digital show begins with black and white footage, jumping between drone shots of wide mountainous valleys and inside working factory mills. The clips are interspersed with (fake) lens flares, making the footage feel old and vintage, a reminder of times before we spoke about R ratings. Then, as we fade to colour, two CGI bushes relax their entangled vine-y grip to show the first model striding over the hill towards the camera, like a farmer returning from his annual meeting with the bank in a wide, minimalist black jacket and trousers, an explorer-like camel shirt and neckerchief below.
The energetic electronic music by French composer Wladimir Schall begins. There’s slight panic and tension. You half expect the models to begin a chase scene (run, you poor good looking men, run!), but it doesn’t. Instead, the camera pans from the pastoral idylls to the interior of a factor – Zegna’s very own factory, in fact – as the dots between nature and machine are joined, man himself doing the connecting both literally and figuratively. By filming in the Lanificio Zegna of Trivero and the Oasi, they play faithful to the #UseTheExisting fashion movement not only with their fabric development but, in this collection’s case, the production too, reusing their own existing structures from shows past. A nice renewable element to the show, and a concept that brands could (and should) continue to uphold.
The collection is fluid and light. Sizing is generous, yet stylistic with dropped shoulders, lowered collars and oversized pockets. Some garments are zipped in a way to expand even further. And, riffing on the theme of exploration, carabiner-like belts, multi-pocketed jackets and roped accessories are as outdoorsy as you can get. What’s more, green credentials are championed once more in lightweight fabrics of hemp, linen, papery nappa and Zegna’s #UseTheExisting wools – all in organic-like shades of clay, hydrangea pinks, river stone blues and carabus greens. Mother Nature has very nice colour schemes.
Inspired by the blending of different worlds, creative director Alessandro Sartori moulds the outerwear from shirting fabric and vice versa, offering the wearer choice and subtle left-fieldism. Although mostly formal, the collection is easy, comfortable-looking and slouchy. Shapes and shades that would work well in the hot summers to come. But it also suits the much discussed ‘New Normal’, as soft, casual formal jackets, shirts and trousers are almost purpose-build for the home office (which overlooks Calabrian cliffs and the azure Med below, of course). Zegna has put man back in touch with nature – and the menswear comes very naturally indeed.
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