192 bales of raw linen were transported from Normandy to Milan for the Zegna spring/summer 2024 runway show. They formed an oasis of sorts—Zegna calls the show L'Oasi di Lino (translation: the linen oasis)—within the Piazza San Fedele in Milan.
More than a showcase of what's coming up for the season, the show was once again a reiteration of Zegna's efforts at ensuring that its materials—the very basis of the brand—are sourced and produced with as little negative effects to the environment as possible. And before you call out the brand for potentially wasting raw materials for the show's scenography, Zegna ensures that the raw linen will be turned into its Oasi Linen fabric in Italy. It's also committed to certifying Oasi Linen as 100 percent traceable by 2024.
With that, the hero of the Zegna spring/summer 2024 collection is linen. A number of amalgamations were featured throughout the collection with treatments that displayed artistic director Alessandro Sartori's tactile mastery in materiality. And of course, his penchant for monochromatic looks.
The fit: There was an overall sense of ease and lightness to the collection that's typical of Zegna, and it's even more so owed to the generally linen-based fabrication. Shorts were cut roomy and grazed the knees, and were mostly part of coordinates—a Sartori-favoured leitmotif of constant reimaginings of men's suiting. Blazers were cut without lapels for a more streamlined appearance and oversized outerwear were designed with clean lines ensuring that elements were all flushed with little flourishes. On some instances where lapels did appear, they're actually a result of trompe-l'œil techniques, especially visible on the leather pieces (looks 27 and 33).
The collection's knitwear amplified the sense of tactility, adding both visual interest as well as contrasting textures. And if there's one thing that grounded the entire collection, it would be the triangular scarves seen on a number of looks. There's a sprezzatura sensibility about them that conjures this idea of an Italian summer—perhaps lounging around next to bales of hay (or linen) and without a single care in the world.
The details: Soft handbags crafted from supple leather made several appearances, echoing a similar kind of airiness of the ready-to-wear. The footwear though are the stars. The Triple Stitch was adapted into an espadrille-hybrid with visible rope-stitching running along the soles. Sartori also introduced a new slip-on shoe design cut from one piece of leather and affixed with chunky, textured soles for a truly sophisticated look.
Three exceptional looks: Look 14's classic Zegna fit with the addition of a triangular scarf for that added style factor; look 18 was a beautifully cut jumpsuit that retained elements of traditional menswear tailoring, especially in the interior; and look 45's textural masterpiece in the collection's standout flamingo hue.
The takeaway: This is not your grandfather's linen.
View the full Zegna spring/summer 2024 collection in the gallery below.