If there's one fashion brand that's been constantly evolving and changing the course of its path while under the same creative leadership, it has got to be Zegna. That's not to say that artistic director Alessandro Sartori has been inconsistent in his approach, but rather he's been masterfully charting a path while navigating the unprecedented changes currently happening in our collective lifestyles.
"I keep looking at the world through the Zegna lens. The reality we live in today requires adaptability; it asks us all to be fluid. Translating this idea into clothing means building a language of shapes and textures that grows and consolidates over time, matching the needs of the moment. The notion of the hybrid is one I keep exploring, because there's progress in erasing staid categories," expresses Sartori in the autumn/winter 2022 collection notes.
The Zegna autumn/winter 2022 short film was somewhat of an amalgamation of elements Sartori has explored before since starting out with digital presentations. It reminded me of the spring/summer 2021 runway film where models traversed the outdoors and indoors before finally arriving at Zegna's headquarters in Trivero. In contrast, the autumn/winter 2022 edition started out in the wintry landscape of Oasi Zegna (the place where it all started for the brand) with a journey that saw models tackling different outdoor situations, interspersed with sterile sets, before arriving right next to the Duomo in Milan.
What's exceptionally different this time around is the inclusion of a performance piece. Zegna enlisted choreographer Sadeck Berrabah (better known as SadeckWaff) to create a movement piece—quite like his performance at the 2022 Tokyo Paralympic Games—to represent the distinct, new signifier of Zegna.
Look and feel: There's a clear intention that Sartori wants to eliminate all together the idea of 'formal' versus 'casual' or 'tailoring' versus 'streetwear', because the autumn/winter 2022 collection defies any specific convention. The collection is at once utilitarian in approach and deftly tailored in construction. Most of the fluidity was achieved through skilled layering techniques that further accentuated the soft fabrications and voluminous silhouettes employed throughout.
Zegna's choice of aligning itself with a colour that it's simply calling 'Zegna vicuna' is part of the rebranding that it's gone through. And for autumn/winter 2022, Zegna vicuna used in abundance as accents as well as a way to imprint that striped signifier into the minds of existing and new customers through abstract interpretations on ready-to-wear as well as accessories.
With utilitarian part of a core concept for the collection, it's evident that the brand has consolidated its more sports-leaning Z Zegna offshoot into the collection. Ski googles-inspired eyewear (a sleeker derivative from its recent winter 2021 capsule collection) top off some of the looks to emphasise on that outdoor-ready element of the collection.
Favourite looks: Sartori does monochromatic stylings the best in the business. And he understands proportions really well. Look 13's ensemble consisting of an oversized suit blazer paired with roomy trousers and layered over an overshirt (all three done in a rich golden-brown hue) and orange turtleneck, was classic Sartori. There were other coloured variations in the line-up but that particular colourway was the most fresh of the lot.
Then there's look 46's zipped blouson that's designed with oversized, utilitarian patch pockets—a piece I'll personally be looking out for once the collection arrives. But if something with a bit more pizzaz is more your speed, consider look 29 and its patchwork jumper beautifully constructed with a ribbed turtleneck, and paired with the collection's wide-cut trousers.
Favourite accessories: While accessories haven't been Zegna's strong focus, Sartori has been ramping up on their design of late. The bag in look 42 was a fine example of how Zegna is experimenting with non-traditional shapes while still offering a style that's functional. For something a bit more tried-and-tested, the tote bag in look 48 would make for a brilliant edition—both a key part of the brand's new journey as well as a statement bag you'd have plenty of use for.