HOMECOMING KING

AL ESSANDRO SARTO RI , ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

AL ESSANDRO SARTO RI , ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA.

My Reading Room

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.