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In one of the industry’s most widely acclaimed moves, Alessandro Sartori was appointed the artistic director at Ermenegildo Zegna last February, overseeing all the Zegna brands. It was a homecoming for the former artistic director at Berluti, who had previously spent eight years as designer at Zegna’s diffusion line Z Zegna. One of his biggest challenges is to create a cohesive identity among Zegna’s various labels, while at the same time expanding the brand’s appeal to a younger audience.

His first salvo was the Defining Moments campaign for Spring/Summer 2017 (SS17), featuring Hollywood heavyweight Robert De Niro in candid conversation with up-and-coming actor McCaul Lombardi. Sartori says this is a move from product-centric campaigns to focusing on the people who wear Zegna – a bid for the hearts and wallets of the millennials, perhaps.

For his inaugural AW17 collections for Ermenegildo Zegna and Z Zegna, Sartori shrewdly picked similar colour palettes of grey, off -whites, vicuna brown and soft pastels for both shows to create a unifying link. Selected pieces were also made available for order right after the shows to cater to the see-now-buy-now generation.

Sartori is also making astute moves to get more customers into the boutiques. The brand is establishing new signatures: Eagle-eyed fans will notice the buttonhole-inspired slit on the upper of Zegna’s new L’Asola moccasins – a nod to the brand’s sartorial expertise. The triple XXX stitch, first introduced by his predecessor Stefano Pilati, is now a distinguishing mark on the brand’s top-of-the-line items. Sartori’s strong aesthetics, combined with his commercial savvy, bode well for this storied house.