The simplest definition of Agnona under the creative directorship of Stefano Pilati would be that it is Ermenegildo Zegna for women, though Pilati himself would never want you to say that. Still, there was enough DNA shared between the Zegna men's show on Saturday morning and the Agnona Resort show that Pilati presented later in the day to make the two collections at the very least kissin' cousins.
The Agnona woman as Pilati sees her has always been surrounded by powerful, entrepreneurial men, and she plays with their wardrobe. Hence the ambiguous spirit that was almost as strong in Agnona Resort as it was on the Zegna catwalk. Case in point: The tailored jumpsuit in a charcoal silken micro-tweed, with matching blazer. Paired with loafers, the look had a sartorial sobriety that read more masculine. But the jumpsuit was actually a salopette, or overalls. "See, she's completely feminine," Pilati insisted. "All the tops in the collection are backless."
The feminizing of masculine details could almost be a running theme in Pilati's work (equally, the masculinizing of feminine details). Here, for instance, a classic shirt collar was dropped to form a neckline, and the plastron of a tuxedo shirt was turned into stripes for a shirt and skirt. Speaking of stripes, the designer's yen to experiment has meshed with Zegna's fabric technology to produce Century double-face cashmere, so called because it is Super 100 cashmere, a whole lot finer than the previous industry standard of Super 160 (measuring infinitesimal degrees of fiber diameter). The material defined the collection. "Double cashmere with a summer attitude," said Pilati, cutting the cashmere into a striped blazer, cardigan-soft, and a spectacular dress that wasn't much more than a simple square held in back by two darts.
Thinking about other things that define Pilati as a designer, languorous sensuality comes to mind. For Agnona, he made coats cut on the bias. When he carved a pocket from the fabric, it was so sharp and flat that it disappeared. In gold Lurex, the coat is almost all you'd need for a night out.