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The categories are familiar: suits, cashmere sweaters, trench coats, anoraks. But within these established forms, new, technically minded ideas of how these pieces can be incorporated into the motion of life manifest and proliferate. Subtle cinches offer modular styling options by bringing in the silhouette; zips appear across shoulders and hems. A Chelsea boot is crafted in rubberized leather and neoprene.
On a few pieces the mountaineering references are more overt, like the puffer sweater and pants or the boot with ice cleats.
Still anchoring the collection is the suit, refocused through this haute-hybrid versatility. Over his ten years at Zegna, Sartori was largely responsible for introducing today’s world to relaxed suiting, and remains its master. In his presentation of the collection, the creative director broke down the idea of the suit into its most essential elements, a three-part framework: the jacket, what’s underneath the jacket, and the pants. Each piece is executed in the same material – including a “performance wool” that is machine washable(!) – at different weights, with the jacket being the heaviest and the pants the lightest. Not a single tie is to be seen; jackets go over their matching stand-collar shirts or angularly zipped sweaters, with turtlenecks as the base layer under most looks.
Also a strong focus of the collection was knitwear. Inspired and characterized by the art of mending, cashmere sweaters are patched together with visible seams, creating a well-crafted, wabi-sabi ode to change and renewal – as well as a piece that is visually beautiful and incredibly cozy.
The collection’s deftly restrained color scheme also marks the debut of the colors that will return for each of Sartori’s collections moving forward: ecru, black, grey, “vicuña” – the rich orange of the brand’s new logo – and a rotating seasonal color, which this time around is aubergine.
Another first, the collection launches the beginning of Zegna’s offering a single collection each season, streamlined from their previous three. This move is no doubt part of the reasoning behind the perhaps slightly more commercial feel to the collection; it needs to appeal to a wider range of potential consumers, and much of it does seem to court fans of the ongoing elevated technical outerwear trend.
But the campaign’s accessibility, flexibility, and hybridity – both in its overall shifts from refined to rugged and in the styling modularity and of single pieces – also represents some smart thinking on Sartori and Zegna’s part about how to remember where you came from while responding to the shifting landscapes of life in the moment. Rising to this challenge with focus, innovation, excellent craft, and a subtle sense of emotion, Zegna invites us along an exciting path forward.