Stefano Pilati’s debut at Ermenegildo Zegna has been a hotly anticipated affair in the world of menswear: the central debate being, of course, just how fiercely the avant-garde designer would shake things up at this venerable Italian men’s label. As it turned out, Pilati’s freshman outing was a wonderfully disciplined exercise, with the designer tweaking Zegna’s time-honoured traditions ever so slightly. At the root of this collection were the brand’s exquisite fabrics - from kid mohair mixed with silk and compact striped waffle knits, to pure wools with floral jacquards. You could see the quality a mile away. Patterns came to the surface on slim-cut trousers or short jackets in a powerful wave of understatement that is excruciatingly difficult to achieve. A brilliant cutter, Pilati introduced the smallest of changes to his key menswear silhouettes – from new seamed horizontal panel in the back of jackets, to freshly shaped trapeze overcoats, and vertical pockets angled just at a slight diagonal. A new precision came into focus on the Zegna runway, sidestepping the weird, wacky or overly trendy, in favour of the extraordinary beautiful. Welcome back to Italy, Mr Pilati.
Words: J.J. Martin