It's very apt that Ermenegildo Zegna opens Milan Fashion Week. After all, Italian fashion is, more than ever, about luxury; exclusive, opulent luxury. If you want creativity or experimentation you look to London, which kicks off the menswear schedule. Stefano Pilati's Zegna is all about luxury. It is branded as 'couture' after all, hence all the fancy taffeta and double faced cashmere.
Pilati is a talented designer - he was at the helm of Saint Laurent when it still had the Yves and some elegance - but ironically it's when he tries to move from luxury into 'fashion' that things take an odd turn - one questions if any man would want to sport the odd tops that resemble half removed leotards that we saw for S/S 15 (maybe he was channelling the banker running late to the office from spinning class?). While the concept of man in a state of mixed dress that seemed to run throughout the collection was interesting, and highlights many realities of how modern men are dressing - half smart, half casual, in mismatched suits or transitioning between different outfits for different tasks, whether sports, work or a night out - it felt slightly off for a label that's branding itself with that infamous C-tag, couture. After all, the Zegna group has just merged Z Zegna and Zegna Sport into one brand to cater to the exact needs of the busy urban commuter, so you'd expect this upper tier label to target just those looking for ultimate finery. Aptly, it was the looks that fitted that tag that worked best. The majestic longer-line, oversized pieces - most notably the every-so-slightly effeminate, sensual, sweeping coats and jackets in rich, inky hues - stood out. Such a contrast from the stuffy fitted 3 pieces that appear so regularly on Milanese runways, they show the more confident quieter revolution Pilati is bringing to Zegna when you look beyond the show pieces.