Save for the spotlights on a hill of cashmere fibres positioned in the middle of the Zegna Autumn/Winter 2024 showspace and for a moment, the A-list front row—as one should when it’s a gathering of Mads Mikkelsen, Michael Fassbender, Lucas Bravo and more in one long front row—everything else was dark.

The cashmere hill (in Zegna’s signature vicuña colour) felt like a divine altar, amplified by a soundscape of whirling winds. As soon as the show began to the tunes composed by James Blake, even more fibres seemingly dropped from the sky. The Oasi Cashmere fibres—the brand’s fully traceable cashmere—were the centrepiece of the collection. For artistic director Alessandro Sartori, it was a form of servitude both to the luxurious material as well as to the luxury fashion community at large—a facet of sustainability that was promised and eventually achieved.

The fit: The framework that had been set hasn’t deviated. Sartori’s consistent intent in crafting a timeless wardrobe of nouveau tailoring presented itself in brilliant hues that once again exemplified how well he understands the effect of colour in a collection. The blacks in the Zegna Autumn/Winter 2024 collection weren’t just blacks that faded into the background of the space, they fell somewhere in between black and a deep grey with tonal differences, if any, highly unnoticeable. The same went for the whites that ran along the spectrum and transitioned gradually into an egg wash hue.

Layering was the key intent as a form of individual expression. And even at a glance, it was strikingly apparent that every single piece could very well be stripped and from their individual looks and remixed in different permutations.

There’s a sense of lightness evident even with the most layered of looks—I counted four visible layers on one. The outerwear were light enough such that they moved with relative ease as the models walked by, even when they were decked out with multiple oversized pockets. Equally plush-looking yet breezy were the trousers that were cut wide as always and designed with a single fixed pleat on each side.

The details: The stars had to be the knit tops for Zegna’s Autumn/Winter 2024 collection. They ranged from super sleek drop-shouldered turtlenecks to iterations with flocked designs. One particular detail stood out, especially during the post-show inspections. Look 20’s version of the same opening knit had trompe l’œil ribbing that appeared as though they were burned into the material but were in fact an effect resulted from combining a different-coloured fibre as well as tight knitting of the ends together for a more robust hem foundation. The same effect was also applied onto the trousers paired with each corresponding top.

And if you’re looking for gloves to add to your winter wardrobe, look no further than the ones offered by the collection. Crafted longer than typical gloves, they pooled stylishly for that always desirable element of sprezzatura.

Three exceptional looks: Look 5's simply sublime monochromatic combination with beautifully constructed lines; a bit of blush melange suiting with pockets deep enough that you wouldn't even need a bag; and look 45's multi-layered approach that's an excellent example of genius layering.

The takeaway: Quiet consistency with injections of newness is the way to go. Because why invest in a piece from a new collection if it’s unable to seamlessly integrate as part of a complete wardrobe from others by the same brand?

View the full Zegna Autumn/Winter 2024 collection in the gallery below.

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Closing Milan Fashion Week Men's for the Autumn/Winter 2024 season is none other than Zegna. The last show by a major fashion brand in the schedule, artistic director Alessandro Sartori is set to focus the attention on the brand's Oasi Cashmere—the traceable cashmere line that the brand has worked on for about a couple of years now.

What that entails would probably be an Oasi Cashmere-centric collection but in ways that cashmere probably isn't traditionally designed for. Sartori may perhaps take some learnings from his collaboration with The Elder Statesman where colours were bright and punchy while still looking and feeling extremely luxurious.

The Zegna Autumn/Winter 2024 show will be held at Milan's Allianz MiCo, the largest convention centre in Europe. And that only means that the show would most likely be big in scale too. We've seen the line-up of celebrities slated to sit in for the show, and Zegna is certainly closing Milan Fashion Week Men's with a bang. Like the teasers state: "This will be worth the wait."

For any confirmation, stay tuned for the show this Monday. And for an even closer look at the collection, follow @esquiresg on Instagram as we bring you the action live from Milan Fashion Week Men's.

What: Zegna Autumn/Winter 2024 runway show
Where: Milan, Italy
When: Monday, 15 January at 10pm Singapore time

Zegna artistic director Alessandro Sartori.

Alessandro Sartori is a fan of the Formula One races. He must be—he’s been travelling here for the Singapore Grand Prix since 2018, taking in the race from the top of The Fullerton Hotel while Zegna holds a by-invite-only trunk show and party during race weekend. It has become a sort of Zegna tradition with friends of the brand flown in from around the region to revel in the atmosphere annually. You would see mannequins dressed in Zegna and racks of clothes positioned around the suite but no one is pushing for a sale—at least not on the evening of the finals.

I don’t think Sartori cares much for it too.

It’s not that the artistic director of Zegna isn’t particularly interested in heading a profitable business; he knows that his directional menswear designs sell. And they do. Zegna Group’s preliminary first-half revenues for 2023 reached more than EUR900 million, of which Zegna-branded products (Sartori-designed pieces as well as licensed products) account for EUR541 million, a 27.3 per cent increase from the year before.

Everything that Sartori has been doing point to the year-end financials looking to be just as promising.

A Zegna trunk show and party have been mainstays during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

The recent trunk show in Singapore was a celebration of Zegna’s traceable Oasi Cashmere collection and its debut collaboration with Los Angeles-based brand The Elder Statesman. “It was very organic. We didn’t think to collaborate. [laughs] I met Greg (Chait of The Elder Statesman) through common friends. I was in love with his collection because I love the homemade-handmade aesthetic. He was actually doing things with a very grandmother quality, you know?” Sartori tells me.

Zegna’s expertise in cashmere led Chait—who was in Italy to source for the material—to Sartori at the recommendation of a mutual friend. A one-and-a-half-hour coffee meeting later, Sartori invited Chait to visit the brand’s headquarters Oasi Zegna, while he was invited to visit The Elder Statesman atelier in Los Angeles. They realised that they both share the same values and decided to talk about collaborating a year after.

The Zegna x The Elder Statesman collection is not one you would expect from Zegna. It’s a burst of colours in contrast to Zegna under Sartori where the use of colours is more keenly calculated and monochromatic in nature. It’s also more tactile in the kind of “grandmother quality” that The Elder Statesman is known for. But what’s truly Zegna is in the level of craftsmanship, the luxury leisurewear aesthetic, and of course, the use of Oasi Cashmere throughout the collection.

The Zegna x The Elder Statesman collection.
The collaboration utilises Zegna's traceable Oasi Cashmere.

Sartori says that the goal was to be very precise in what would end up on the final line-up. “If we thought that the garment was not good for The Elder Statesman or for Zegna, we edited. And we edited beautiful pieces but the aesthetic was too much of this or that, or too strange,” he explains.

The result was a collection with each look striking a balance between Italian savoir-faire and luxury coupled with a laid-back Californian vibe.

The fact that this is only the third big-name collaboration that Zegna has produced makes it an industry outlier. While fashion brands big and small continue to seemingly churn out buzzy collaborations at least once a season, Zegna released its first collaboration—a phenomenal one at that with Fear of God—only in 2020. One might say the brand was simply late to the game, but Sartori never felt the need to keep up.

“I was very surprised Zegna collaborated with Fear of God, because it was the first-ever and I always felt like the brand didn’t need to go that route,” I tell Sartori.

“You like it?”

“I loved it. I tried to buy a piece but it was sold out everywhere.”

According to Sartori, he still receives requests to produce more of that landmark collaboration. When asked if the success of his first collaboration created pressure for him to do more, Sartori was quick to dismiss it. “I could have done plenty but I don’t want to. I want to do what we feel is right for the brand, something that has meaning and connection to the work we do,” he says. “We don’t do collaborations to make money. Of course, we need them to sell because if you don’t, that means you don’t deliver. But they’re made with the purpose of connecting different communities.”

With Zegna x The Elder Statesman, the idea of bridging different communities not only refers to the two different customers of both brands, but also to amplify the possibilities of creation using Zegna’s excellent quality and traceable cashmere. Oasi Cashmere is one of two material sustainability efforts that Zegna is investing heavily on currently—the other is Oasi Lino, traceable linen for the warmer months. The beauty of directly owning a number of Italian fabric mills allows Zegna to control the production of textiles right from the source, including the origins of the raw material itself. “I say this quite often lately, ‘One day, a generation will arise where if a garment isn’t tagged with a digital passport, they won’t buy it’,” Sartori opines. He likens it to the food industry where manufacturing details are extensive and clear on labels.

Before you deem this as merely Zegna jumping on the sustainability bandwagon that every other fashion brand is on, the very foundations of the brand is rooted in caring for the environment and community. It goes back to 1910 with founder Ermenegildo Zegna planting the first tree in the area surrounding his mill. And about 20 years later, he constructed a 26-kilometre road to make Oasi Zegna accessible to the local community and link them to its natural surroundings, providing a public space for leisure and outdoor activities among nature.

“I’m almost surprised that Zegna had never spoken about Oasi Zegna before,” Sartori expresses. “We thought it was a mistake and something we needed to communicate because it’s the honest and authentic vision of the company.”

It’s one of the rare instances in our interview that Sartori agrees that if there’s something the brand needs to be “louder” about, this would be it.

On Sartori’s part, it had already been a guiding principle for his designs. He sees sustainability as more than simply using recycled materials—Zegna continues to do so with its #UseTheExisting fabrications made from recycled sources—or one-off capsule collections. To Sartori, it’s a mindset that goes down to the very make of a garment. He cites the example of the very basics of tailoring: quality construction made to last. From the stitchings of the shoulders to how a buttonhole is made, everything has to be built with the idea that it should last for a very long time.

“If I designed a jacket that after three years doesn’t hold together and breaks during travel, I wouldn’t have done my job. The goal is for you to wear a jacket that after 15 years might have a little hole, but remains completely wearable. That is my dream,” he says.

Sartori calls this “designing for sustainability”, where there needs to be some foresight in constructing a garment in ways that would allow it to last, as well as have the possibility of being recycled. A jacket constructed with a lot of fusing, for instance, wouldn’t be recyclable because disassembling it is near impossible.

While seasonality is still apparent in Zegna’s collections, Sartori doesn’t design specific to each season. The collections have been streamlined such that ideas transcend seasons, but still rooted in a specific aesthetic that he’s crafted to be Zegna’s version of modern tailoring. It’s unabashedly louche and relaxed with foundational elements consisting of knitwear, the overshirt, the chore jacket, the signature Triple Stitch sneakers, voluminous trousers and the like. The look has been consistent since the Autumn/Winter 2021 collection as part of an evolution that was already in the works but accelerated by Covid.

In the consistency lies timelessness. You wouldn’t easily part ways with a Zegna piece from one season; there’s seamless integration between pieces from different seasons. Let’s face it, a Zegna piece is an investment that you’d want to hold on to and wear for as long as possible anyway. And Sartori continues to make that easier.

So yes, Sartori may be a fan of the Formula One races. The speed and the sounds (he’s unfazed by the zooming of cars below us, audible towards the end of our interview) may thrill him. But at his core, he’s not one to condone needless speed, but a still, calm force that pushes ahead with intention.

Photo by Zegna

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.

Photo by Zegna
Photo by Zegna

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.

Look 1. Photo by Zegna
Look 2. Photo by Zegna
Look 3. Photo by Zegna
Look 4. Photo by Zegna
Look 5. Photo by Zegna
Look 6. Photo by Zegna
Look 7. Photo by Zegna
Look 8. Photo by Zegna
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Look 14. Photo by Zegna
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Look 25. Photo by Zegna
Look 26. Photo by Zegna
Look 27. Photo by Zegna
Look 28. Photo by Zegna
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Look 30. Photo by Zegna
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Look 33. Photo by Zegna
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Look 45. Photo by Zegna
Look 46. Photo by Zegna
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Look 50. Photo by Zegna
Look 51. Photo by Zegna
Look 52. Photo by Zegna
Look 53. Photo by Zegna
Look 54. Photo by Zegna
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