Stefano Pilati’s sartorial embodiment of fundamental architectural principals started the Milan menswear shows off in style on Saturday. Backed by an imposing set design, dominated with what looked to be the framework of a sleek building site, that actually echoed the urban renewal taking place on the streets surrounding the show’s venue.
Reborn too is this Ermenegildo Zegna Couture line that Pilati, with this his third collection at the helm, has given a clean new direction. One where beautiful fabrics and expert tailoring are in clear service to more directional designs. Pieces that gently but firmly push modern men out of their classic comfort zone.
The running theme of this particular collection was an examination of the pristine power of the line. Of course this meant the designer offered up quite a number of striped pieces. Where black and blue, gray and navy or beige and sand faced off in different widths of vertical, horizontal and even slanting circular lines on blouson jackets, voluminous nylon coats and pinstripe suits.
Pilati pushed this line idea further by framing the collars of polo tops with a contrasting color, inserting central seams on jacket pockets or most strikingly using wide cuffs on full cut trousers that were embellished with raised seams, as if to ground the pants in linear structure.
The designer also broke up the line idea by creating tricky wife beater shirts that were spliced into the bottom of tops. So that the arm straps would loop down below the hemline of jackets- to give a contrasting curve to all the liner notions. Another wonderful interpretation of the concept was a classic white stripped summer sweater on which Pilati chose to leave the dark fabric lines free floating across the body so that they ruffled slightly as the model walked down the runway.
This subtle inclusion of air, volume if you will, into the mix was also exceptionally done. Not just in the familiar way coats were cut loose or wide cut pants pooled at the ankles. But also in the choices of the fabrics themselves, blended to stand away from the body, to let the air circulate under or through the materials.
This collection was one more breath of fresh air from Pilati who seems to finally be breathing free and easy at Ermenegildo Zegna.