Zegna AW17: Alessandro Sartori Interview

Backstage at Ermenegildo Zegna AW17 Couture
Backstage at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture AW17

Zegna AW17 by Alessandro Sartori: Milan Fashion Week opened last night with a debut – and homecoming – of sorts. “It’s different because the house is different to when I left”, Alessandro Sartori told us after his first show as Artistic Director for Zegna. “It’s much younger. More resources, more laboratories, more workshops”. Born in the North Italian city of Biella, Sartori moved to Milan to study fashion design. In 2003, he was appointed the Creative Director of the newly launched, sportswear infused Z Zegna line. Following successful shows in both New York and Italy for the brand, he left to head up Berluti in 2011. A focus on easy to wear tailoring and contemporary accessories (the brand’s sneakers became a worldwide best-seller) heralded a renaissance of the Parisian shoemaker once frequented by Andy Warhol. In June 2016, Sartori returned to Zegna, taking on the role of Artistic Director. He now oversees all of the brand’s divisions in a 360 degree approach that touches all creative aspects. He may have worked for Zegna before, but much had changed since Sartori left the the family business five years ago. “We have a lot of new talent inside the house and also a new feeling of working and creativity which to me is very important”.

Zegna AW17

The new Zegna AW17:

Tonight’s Ermenegildo Zegna Couture show gave an idea of Sartori’s vision for the 1910 established brand. Set in the cavernous industrial Pirelli hangar, the Zegna AW17 runway led a path through ‘The Seven Heavenly Palaces’ by artist Anselm Kiefer. Sartori’s collection re-interpreted Zegna’s tailoring expertise with sportswear shapes and practical details inspired by outdoor pursuits. “I would like to propose a new type of aesthetic and the idea of pushing the craft. Cool but effortless; it’s not over-styled. It’s natural and chic. It’s a way of wearing”, he said of this new Zegna wardrobe. And so, elegant coats and field jackets feature drawstring waists and rubberised zippers. Tailored jackets are matched with loosely cut trousers and jogging style bottoms, worn with hiking boots and silicon sole’d brogues. Activewear inspired the accessories too, and models wore baseball hats and backpacks.The collection’s 46 looks were presented on an equal number of models. “We were building a proper look for a character”, Sartori explained “We were casting from mid-October – three months!”

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Ermenegildo Zegna founded the brand in the alpine region of Trivero using his father’s wooden mills and looms. To this day, fabric expertise sits at the heart Zegna to this day. In 2017, this translates into sturdy felt made of ultralight cashmere for suits that can be worn as outerwear, felted cashmere jersey and padded jacquards. At Zegna AW17, even a workwear fabric such as denim is made of Trofeo cashmere and baby calf leather is treated with a special wax. “The approach was to look for a new silhouette that does not use any references from the past – but keeping the beautiful materials, the beautiful craft.”

Zegna AW17 1
All the looks

Zegna AW17 6

Zegna AW17 8

Zegna AW17 9

Zegna AW17

Zegna AW17

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