All roads might lead to Rome, but not before making a stop at Milan's iconic train station, Milano Centrale. The 87-year-old train station, the largest in Europe and serves as the hub of Italy's transport line, is also the venue for Ermenegildo Zegna Couture's autumn/winter 2019 runway presentation. But more than just another stunning location for a major luxury brand, the train station is symbolic of Zegna artistic director Alessandro Sartori’s ethos for the collection.
“Borders keep being narrowed throughout the world," says Sartori. "I felt the urge to advocate the power of openness and multiplicity through my own means as a fashion designer, expressing awareness and responsibility at every step of the creative process—from textile-making to devising new categories of clothing, to the staging of the fashion show in such a meaningful place."
Those aren't just empty words. The Ermenegildo Zegna Couture autumn/winter 2019 collection saw Sartori weaving different codes of menswear into a rich and diverse tapestry. Shirts were rendered in boxy outerwear, casual blousons sported tailored collars, and casual cargo trousers were given a sartorial slant. Down puffer jackets were transmuted into elegantly quilted tailored jackets, that retain the functionality of the former.
Sartori also put on a masterclass in textures, which is not surprising, especially with Zegna's expertise in fabrication. Think rich fleece trousers worn with buttery soft leather jackets, and stunning jacquard coats paired with nylon parkas and wool trousers. There was even a suit crafted from wool cashmere, paper and leather—weird flex, but more than okay. If that wasn't enough, a quarter of fabrics used in the collection were not only recycled from the offcuts of fabrics from the Zegna factory, but were designed in a way that they could be easily recycled into its next incarnation.
Where the collection truly shone was in the myriad of silhouettes proposed by Sartori. Coats were long and voluminous, paired with narrow trousers, while cropped jackets were perfectly paired with trousers. The addition of cuffs and straps (seen most prominently in the trousers), gives the wearer the freedom to explore and change the silhouettes of the garments.
The show might have been slightly delayed, but as long as Sartori continues to propose new ways of making menswear fresh and exciting without being radical, it will always be worth the wait.