Lifestyle Asia India speaks to menswear maestro Alessandro Sartori, Artistic Director of Zegna about their Spring-Summer 2023 collection “BORN IN OASI ZEGNA”.
“Effortless luxury”, the term Zegna’s Artistic Director, Allesandro Sartori used when asked to describe the SS23 collection. Just a few days ago, the brand’s Spring-Summer 2023 collection titled ‘BORN IN OASI ZEGNA’ made a bold debut as a paene of Sartori’s vision of consistent evolution, sartorial technicality, creative freedom, and sustainability, for Zegna. All these emotions were showcased at Lanificio Zegna wool mill at Oasi Zegna, Trivero, the birthplace of SS23.
This 100-square-kilometer natural reserve situated in Biella Alps in Northern Italy, stands not only as a monument of societal and environmental consciousness, but also, and more broadly, a set of values that ultimately foster consistency and promote harmony: between men, engine and nature, past and present, belief and innovation.
The colours, tones, and prints, mimics the abundant natural beauty of Oasi Zegna. And to understand the art behind the craft better, we speak to the artist himself, the man spearheading Ermenegildo Zegna’s vision for sustainable luxury menswear and technical craftsmanship, Alessandro Sartori, Artistic Director of Zegna.
Take us through the Oasi’s role in SS23’s creative vision
The collection was showcased in the exact place where it was born. The idea of Oasi Zegna is to not only be a venue but more importantly, a vision of our values. Zegna has a strong green mindset, and everything we do, every garment we stitch, strings back to this idea. You can see this in our use of sustainable fabrics, tracible fibers and recyclable resources are always at the heart, at the foundation of our designs.
Also, the key colours, prints and inspirations for this collection, also arrive from the Oasi. All in all, we simply decided to introduce this collection to the world, right where it was conceptualized and born. Creating a cycle of life and art in the process. This season I strived to create a fusion between tailoring techniques and modern leisure-wear. The silhouette is fused with crafted details and beautiful technique, yet it is a luxury leisurewear collection where lightness, effortlessness and highly refined colours create a new menswear statement and aesthetic.
I’ve noticed that pieces from this collection are extremely light and wide, almost as if they’re floating over the person wearing it. Could you elaborate on this creative language?
If we really take a look even at previous Zegna collections, lightness is a big theme for us. But with this season, I wanted to keep things even lighter. ‘Effortless’ is the word I’d use to define this collection, as these light silhouettes play testament to that. I really wanted to maintain that summery and light feel throughout this collection. More so, the cuts and fabrics are so much more refined. All this freedom and breeziness again, are elements of the Oasi, the venue that inspired the SS23 collection.
Let’s talk hues. We see two alter-egos here in the colours you’ve chosen for this collection – Vibrant yellow notes and on the other end of the spectrum, we have apricot and even burgundy, what’s the play here?
I think, we can still pick up on the point we just discussed about lightness and freedom. For SS23, I’ve curated a base of highly Earthy colours but also one of grey and black. However, the rest of the colours you see, they’re meant to convey the idea of lightness. We’re talking about saturated pink, ultra-light yellow, the colour of desert sand and more, they all come together to create this aesthetic of lightness, effortlessness underlined with the refreshing essence of summer
Tell us about how Zegna’s signatures are evolving?
Evolution is a constant at Zegna, we’ve seen a new avatar of the brand with each collection, Oh, it’s a constant dialogue, however, our values remain the same. Zegna’s blueprints consists of the idea that quality and sustainability can be one. Adaptivity, durability, and comfort are always at Zegna’s core. We’ve applied this emotion into SS23, maintaining the attitude and flair of the Zegna man. While so, it’s also about the fusion of tailor-made artistry and modern luxury silhouettes. This unique design language is in constant evolution at Zegna. And SS23 is the latest chapter in this evolution.
Hearing the term “Zegna Man” definitely peaked my curiosity, what does it mean?
He tells us “This simply means, the customer and the company sharing a certain sartorial emotion or DNA. I think a customer must understand, share and embrace our ideas, if not, he wouldn’t find himself in what he’s wearing. These emotions could be sustainability, luxury tailoring, or even wearing a unique garment allowing one to express an idea. While all of these are a part of the brand’s DNA, we also share them with our customers. So, as they share these values with us, our clientele become ambassadors of the brand as they wear our garments around the world. Hence, a Zegna Man.
The world of menswear is moving so quicky, with so many new trends and independent ideas surfacing, what’s your take on its evolution?
During the pandemic, comfort became a very important pillar of menswear. There are a lot of phases in the industry, and just like the ones before, this phase too, left its mark. We’ve gone from an era of over-the-top glamour during the Nineties, where designers, even stylists and photographers, were all superstars. Then enters 21st century, where mega brands became icons. After which we entered into the street web of 2010. Through these times, fashion moved and evolved as a collective. Today, we have more individual styles, where brands express their own values. The menswear industry is more related to values, the needs of a man, towards personal approaches, instead of simply focusing on one mega-trend or having a heard mentality. And well, currently, during the pandemic phase, comfort is a big factor, hence the menswear industry has prominently tilted towards it.
Talking about trends, we’ve seen so many trends from the Eighties, Nineties and even the early 2000s, making a back menswear. In your opinion, what are the trends of today that could perhaps make comeback, maybe 20, 30 years in the future?
That’s a tough question to answer because fashion is changing so fast and trends are changing even faster. However, I believe that quality, sustainability, durability, personalization and comfort will always be constant.
At the same time, I actually don’t want a trend of the past or present to come back. I like things constantly evolving and prefer not living in nostalgia but in a progressive world. I know that other designers are more in tune of trends of the past but I simply don’t wish to look back. I would of course prefer to learn about a past trend but not want to see it comeback. Evolution is a necessity for me.
All images: Courtesy brand