True and Tried Traditionalists: Ermenegildo Zegna

– By Andrea Mestrovic –  

 

Home of Ermenegildo Zegna which sits adjacent to the Lanificio wool mill in Trivero, Italy

The world of couture is relentless, yet there exists an equilibrium between its rapid appointments and somewhat disjointed electric motionlessness.  From the new, fast and hip – like Jason Wu or Rodarte – to the true, tried and celebrated like Ermenegildo Zegna, the only way to keep the masses rapt is to work at regularly invigorating the traditional, as well as permitting new talent to enter the sport of fashion.  At this juncture, everyone appears satisfied.  But not many of the traditionalists have remained as relevant and stimulating as The Zegna Group.  From the early 1900’s to present day, the company continues to elevate, surprise, and keep the competitors alert with their interpretations and on-going acclimatization of what a gentleman should wear…now.

Ermenegildo Zegna, early 1950s

It all started in 1910 with a wool mill in Trivero, in the Alpine foothills near Biella. Ermenegildo Zegna, the son of a watchmaker, took over the family business and started producing fabrics using four looms. His objective was to produce creative Italian fabrics with unbeatable quality and he did this by sourcing the noblest natural fibers directly from their country of origin.  His business acumen and international vision were ahead of his time, and by 1945 Zegna fabrics were sold in over 40 countries. Today, this global luxury brand is an unambiguous leader in opulent and lifestyle menswear. As such, Zegna has been manufacturing and supplying fabric to Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford to name a few.
The focus on family values, product excellence and acuity on sustainability continues at Zegna today; the group is still family run by the fourth generation of Zegna family: Gildo Zegna as CEO, Paolo Zegna as Chairman and Anna Zegna, (shown right), as Image Director.  Following the founder’s passion for ecology, the family’s latest generation created Oasi Zega (Zegna Oasis) in 1993. They reforested the barren mountainside on the Biella Alps, thus creating a protected landscape in full respect of local ecosystems.  The Oasis is now open to visitors year round, offering a rich array of eco-compatible sports and excursions.
Amidst the history, nobility, ecology and haute couture (and despite uncanny economic turns) the company continues to grow and has reached €963M in turnover for 2010 – a 21% increase from 2009.  They do this by adhering to the traditional principles of quality design and according to Anna Zegna, “creating unimaginable combinations between formal and sporty, where each garment is fashioned from the finest materials and infused with a manic attention to sartorial details”.

Olivia Palermo, Anna Zegna, both in Agnona and Johannes Huebl in A/W '12 Ermenegildo Zegna, at the A/W '12 Ermenegildo Zegna show.

Olivia has recently attended the Autumn/Winter 2012 Ermenegildo Zegna collection presentation, where the Zegna man floated from sporty to formal or into a combination of the two with zero effort and complete composure.  The various shades of wood brown, warm hazelnut, snow white, and midnight blue as well as the unconcerned patchworks of plaids, checks and chevron patterns painted a picture of a strong, silent type – a true gentleman: refined but effortless and at ease.
As always, the A/W 2012 collection, shown below, is indicative of the distinct and highly regarded Ermenegildo Zegna brand.

Andrea Mestrovic is a multi-lingual, multi-talented, but modest multi-tasker who has lived on both sides of the Atlantic. Andrea has a sure-footed instinct for discovering magnificent finds all over the globe. You can follow her on twitter @AndreaMestrovic
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About the Author

Andrea Mestrovic is a multi-lingual, multi-talented, but modest multi-tasker who has lived on both sides of the Atlantic. Andrea has a sure-footed instinct for discovering magnificent finds all over the globe. You can follow her on twitter @AndreaMestrovic or read all her posts on http://oliviapalermo.com/author/andrea