by LUKE LEITCH

Today, Alessandro Sartori presents his first Ermenegildo Zegna Couture show in Milan. For the eagle-eyed, however, this Z Zegna Pitti presentation contained signs of what’s to come. 

Z Zegna, which has absorbed Zegna Sport, is the more action-packed cousin of the label’s highest articulation. In the past, and certainly under Sartori’s predecessor, Stefano Pilati, all the labels in the stable went their own sweet way. But Sartori has imposed a new structure designed to unite. The color language of this collection, with a very natural quality with no hint of the synthetic or chemical, should follow through to today’s big reveal. 

This, clearly, was a very ski-influenced collection, a reference to the anniversary of a ski lift on Zegna’s Piedmont home property, plus a 1970s house skiwear line worn by members of the Italian national squad. A full ski suit in white was made of tight-weave cotton with only the faintest spray of sealant; its inside lining was Zegna’s proprietary breathable techno merino wool. This offering emphasized the organic as much as possible yet embraced technology, too: One ski jacket, whose bisected stripe was sourced from a four-decades-old Zegna ski sweater, contained an inner jacket with an in-built wirelessly rechargeable heating system. 

 The collection went off-piste into tailoring that retained the stripes on lusciously soft topcoats and jackets, and whose pants, some of them lined and fortified to be ski-suitable, featured a high and wide waistband, tapering carrot legs, and attractively angled popper pockets also sourced from sportswear. These were seriously lovable pants, especially when teamed with soft-hued, short four-button shearling jackets and an intensely delightful double-face cashmere parka. Whatever its part in the wider Zegna picture, this Z collection was in itself a ski-styled slice of excellently rugged luxury menswear.

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