June 23, 2008
In a season when all of Milan seemed to fall in love with pajama dressing, the house of Zegna was on hand to show that men don't have to loosen their drawstrings to keep cool in the heat. As Bryan Ferry crooned "Avalon" on the soundtrack, models paraded unruffled through the company's sleek concrete-and-glass headquarters, wearing a series of structured yet completely unstuffy sand-colored outfits from the top-end Sartoria, Couture, and Upper Casual lines. The reason the Zegna man looks so composed is due, of course, to the house's extraordinary fabric technology. This season, that produced, among other innovations, something called "High Performance Cool Effect" wool, a material said to reflect 80 percent of direct sunlight. And then there is the precision of the cut. Alongside sharp bomber jackets and impeccably classic single-breasted suits, the standout here was a quietly assertive, double-breasted peak-lapel number that seemed aimed at the customer who likes the idea of a Tom Ford suit but isn't sure he can carry off the shoulders.
The program notes claimed that the collection "evokes the colours, sights, and sounds of the Indian subcontinent." That would be true only if beige, not pink, were the navy blue of India, though it probably explained the presence of the occasional Nehru-collar linen jacket or shirt. But then that is the strength of the Zegna man: He doesn't have to wear his inspiration on his High Performance Cool Effect sleeve.