Ermenegildo Zegna Spring 2014

With Stefano Pilati’s recent departure from Yves Saint Laurent after eigth years as the fashion house’s creative director, his first collection as the head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna was greatly anticipated by the entire fashion community. The SS14 collection, featured at Milan Fashion Week and kicking off the menswear season, successfully demonstrated the symbiosis of the designer and the fashion house’s strongest design traits.

Pilati started the show with a whirlwind of sound and chaos in the form of alarms going off and movie screens projecting close-up footage of the Zegna production process. Eager to break away from Zegna’s often stale collections and instead present the clothes in a strong cultural context, Pilati finished off the visuals with images of pianist Maxence Cyrin performing an original piece of music composed for the show.

The cogs and wheels projected on the modern screens symbolised the gruelling amount of work that went into perfecting the designer’s pilot collection for the powerhouse brand. Appointed to the position of head of design in September 2012, Pilati decided to take his time crafting a high-quality collection for 2014 instead of rushing to participate in the winter 2103 season with a mediocre offering.

And the quality of the whole show – from the fabrics through the fit of the garments all the way to the music and the background – signified a whole new era for the brand. The collection made use of Zegna’s own fabric mills to create garments in 33 distinct colours, which were fashioned in the vein of Pilati’s understated, casual elegance.

With the very first models that walked the runway, Zegna confidently refuted boring business suits and industry standard slim fits. Extremely long suit jackets with non-traditional lapels and a relaxed cut clashed with mismatched textured trousers to create an incongruent, yet extremely dashing look.

One touch that stood out on all the looks were the casually rolled cuffs of long-sleeve Henleys or t-shirts over the sleeves of suit jackets and bombers. Various fabrics were used in this experiment to create a variety of casual and formal looks.

The stand out garments of the whole show were the light, free-flowing coats that gave an extremely dynamic edge to the models as they swept through the runway. Both belted and belt-less variants were featured, but what was common among the overcoats was their movement and strong silhouette.

The final element that differentiated this offering from previous Zegna shows was the strong use of pastel colours such as antique rose, tobacco and apricot in juxtaposition with traditional black, navy and white. Together with the unexpected floral-textured wool fabrics and the strong sensory impact of the showcase, the colour palette marked Stefano Pilati’s first collection for Zegna a huge success.

Ermenegildo Zegna Spring 2014