To take a cue from the legendary poet Drake, we are going to start out the review of Ermenegildo Zegna Couture's spring/summer 2019 collection from the bottom—footwear.
As a house that is synonymous with fabrics and tailoring, shoes don't really come to mind when you think of Ermenegildo Zegna. The new silhouettes of sneakers and sandals from the spring/summer 2019 collection are about to change that notion.
Made with panels of whole and perforated leather, all parts of the footwear are completely sewn by hand using the Opanka construction which lends it strength, while the technical elements keep it lighter than air. It's apt considering the ethos and title of the collection is 'Weightlessness'.
When asked about the inception of the collection, artistic director Alessandro Sartori says, "Creation for me always stems from a technical challenge. I am presenting shapes that are bold and voluminous, yet very light, in layers of meshes, wools, silks."
Camp collar printed shirts are made in heavy fabrics and oversized, that they blur almost into jacket territory. Parkas are reimagined with mesh fabric, turning the traditionally sturdy outerwear into a garment that mimics the lightness of a shirt.
A key piece would be the joggers that Sartori favours. Unlike seasons before, the trousers are cut roomier in the thighs before gently tapering down to the ankles. These trousers feel more inclusive than before, looking equally great on both the athletic and skinny builds.
But perhaps Sartori's greatest trick was removing the heaviness and stuffiness from suiting. Unlike his peers, he didn't try to fuse streetwear into the collection by adding a sporty element, nor subvert it by exaggerating the proportions of the suit. The suiting that Sartori proposes is one that manages to channel the spirit of lightness of dressing down (which is part of the reason why the world has embraced streetwear).
Let me explain. The suits are often worn broken, which means the prints and fabric rarely match (which also means that you spend less time thinking about matching your jacket and trousers!). When they do match, it's often in souriver prints (un-sartorial!). The overall silhouette is slightly slouchy, but it doesn't feel sloppy. Rather it feels intentionally cut for a man that is on the move (how liberating!).
I was asked after the show if I see fashion shifting back to tailoring. I hope not; to do so feels regressive. Sartori has found that sweet spot—creating a collection that caters to a streetwear crazed world by proposing a weightless and yet tailored ensemble.