Insouciant and inexplicably cool, Ermenegildo Zegna’s Couture SS 18 “Hidden Garden” show illustrated the exploration of personal conscious and sub-conscious fantasies, at a venue that justified the epic proportions of Alessandro Sartori’s ambition
Alessandro Sartori is a vital accomplice of the egalitarianism that’s sweeping through luxury houses. It’s a couture concept central to the contemporary outlook of top tier brands collectively pushing the envelope further than ever before, and with his debut collection, he did just that and much more. Mr Sartori, who had previously spent 8 years as designer of Z Zegna, thrusts Ermenegildo Zegna straight into the future with a show best described as a clash of conflicting worlds.
Upholding a reputation for intricate, artisanal creations in the brightest of colours, Mr Sartori’s stewardship created theatrics that quite easily exalted the most cryptic viewer. Guests entered from a large maze, clad with bright green turf, puzzling mirrors and digital screens showing artisans at work. Once inside, the historical cloister in the courtyards of Milan’s Università Statale, was transformed into a futuristic garden. In a dreamy atmosphere evoked by the sound of Japanese drums, 44 models mesmerised the guest with fluid fabrics, sleek silhouettes and sharply tailored styles.
With each piece, an incredible richness of details stood out through extraordinary technical craftmanship. A case in point – the handmade shadow effects mimicking elbow patches and a woven jacquard jacket that was wholly hand-embroidered at the back. All of which gave the collection a charmingly esoteric vibe. Mr Sartori was inspired by the natural rusty hue of the vicuña, a llama-like creature, whose extremely fine wool is one of Zegna’s luxurious trademarks.
The entire collection was cohesive yet full of standout pieces, with a focus on lightness and a subtle athletic flair. The pared-down unstructured silhouette moved away from the standard tailored looks seen on the runway this season. The color palette was delicately blaze with natural shades of walnut, geranium, freesia, lotus, cypress, bleached aqua and signature Vicuna.
Ermenegildo Zegna is a fourth-generation family owned business that was founded as a textile mill and last year boasted a turnover of 1.26bn. It is navigating an increasingly complex market shrewdly, thanks to its crystal clear ultra-high positioning. On a mission to bring tailoring into the modern age, the question arises that can this man save the suit in a generation of “add to cart”.