Ermenegildo Zegna Couture S/S 2016

Master class in tailoring

If you ever have to bring an ingénue to a runway show and explain what men’s fashion is all about – why for thousands of professional men it’s a true obsession – there are few better starting points than Zegna Couture.

Dry-wool Madras, sophistication with a difference at Zegna Couture Ermenegildo Zegna
Dry-wool Madras, sophistication with a difference at Zegna Couture

So smooth the presentation; so refined the fabrics; so subtle the sense of chic and, above all, so thoroughly now the whole mood at Zegna Couture’s latest important show which kicked off the spring 2016 men’s wear season in Milan on a balmy Saturday morning.

 

Stefano Pilati - slim and trim from eating only Thai food – riffs on his inspirations Ermenegildo Zegna
Stefano Pilati – slim and trim from eating only Thai food – riffs on his inspirations

Opening in all black, designer Stefano Pilati worked a modern silhouette – slim-line jackets with the softest of shoulders, fluid, languid pants. He banished horsehair from interiors, substituting  with layers of poplin for a lighter line. All looks were anchored by a fab set of footwear. Fringed Navajo moccasins in stamped leather; or sleek loafers whose tassels looked almost handcuffed. Occasionally, the tailoring recalled Giorgio Armani, though at the height of his powers two decades ago revolutionizing menswear when, by the by, Pilati was the fledgling talent discovering fabrics for Giorgio.

The Zegna mill shows its skills in this mega Madras plaid Ermenegildo Zegna
The Zegna mill shows its skills in this mega Madras plaid

Though, today, Stefano’s brightest idea, literally, were a dozen rather wonderful Madras checks. Made in humongous mega plaids in eye catching candy floss shades of peppermint, rose and earth, Pilati utilized the material in loose trenches, jerkins, and even as backs to several check suits.

Always original on footwear, Pilati’s Navajo sandal Ermenegildo Zegna
Always original on footwear, Pilati’s Navajo sandal

A great way to highlight the legendary fabric resources of Zegna and another example of how Pilati has made this storied brand into a noted trendsetter. He also kicked in lots of his signature tricks: military pouches; mini belts; fluid blouse shirts, scarf styling and nipped in ankles pants. Though minimalist in silhouette, the show rippled with color, with madras the iconic material.

Nobody styles a scarf with as much aplomb as Stefano Ermenegildo Zegna
Nobody styles a scarf with as much aplomb as Stefano

“I wanted to reinvent constructed clothes. See through clothes with an aesthetic using transparency, which is not so common in men’s wear. A new sexiness but through tailoring,” commented the designer.

Nobody styles a scarf with as much aplomb as Stefano Ermenegildo Zegna
So light and white

No one looks more like a fashion designer than Pilati, a figure out of central casting, with his tight curly beard and funky hauteur, whose all white catwalk with sunken stairway entrance was an ideal piece of staging.

 

Zegna Couture master tailoring in black Ermenegildo Zegna
Zegna Couture master tailoring in black

Above all, the sense of lightness and ease made this collection a pleasure on the eyes; and a great intro to any fashion novice. The cast – a half-decade-older than many men’s shows in Italy – looked groomed and cool. Backstage, they wandered around, hesitating to undress. They knew they looked great, too.

White coat and shirt Ermenegildo Zegna
White coat and shirt

 

More excellent moccasins which show Pilati’s ergonomic obsessions Ermenegildo Zegna
More excellent moccasins which show Pilati’s ergonomic obsessions