There was something so languid about Stefano Pilati's first outfit in his debut show for Ermenegildo Zegna today—the casually closed, double-breasted jacket, the light topcoat—that it could only feel like a manifesto. Almost confrontational, in fact. The suits that followed were broken—jackets and trousers not matched, reflecting Pilati's conviction that a man whose closet is filled with suits isn't about to wear them as convention dictates. The proportions—the long jacket, the placement of the notch on the lapel, the high button—were equally discombobulating. But that is something that Pilati has always excelled at. He reconceptualizes the familiar. So he rolled and tied and slung the heart of Zegna into something that married today and tomorrow.
And that was undoubtedly why Gildo Zegna was emphasizing his company's partnership with Pilati after the show. You're not going to surrender your family's heritage to an outsider if you don't trust that he has a gut feeling for why you're good in the first place. Pilati certainly seemed to have the feeling. His claim that he'd been "filtered" in his last job at YSL suggested the opposite was the case at Zegna. It definitely looked that way from a presentation that set Pilati's clothes in a cultural continuum of music, film, and fashion. And something about the fact that he'd used 33 colors in his clothes (Antique Rose 11, Apricot 16, Tobacco 21, Fern 33) was significant. Never mind that Zegna had never gone so hog wild for color, there was also the point that Pilati has license. A number of models had long-sleeve T-shirts rolled back on the cuffs of their coats and jackets. It was a street-y flourish for a collection that will reportedly retail somewhere between head-spinning and what thuh?