Stefano Pilati leads the historic menswear giant into the future with his couture collection for Ermenegildo Zegna. We discuss his last collection from Yves Saint Laurent, his first collection at Zegna, and the Spring/Summer 2014 campaign.
Iris: Fall/Winter 2012 is probably my second favorite YSL show, after FW11. I’m not particularly sure why I like this show because I’m not normally a big fan of like lots of leather looks, but I think it’s the like layers, because I’m like, ‘is that one layer really necessary?’ but I love it. I also really love the shoes, I’m actually really obsessed, its really obvious but I think its so cute because they are like the men’s version of the YSL SS12 womens show with the metal caps on them. I also like the color palette I like the black and the grays although some of the black look navy, possibly weird lighting?
Daniel: Yeah, I’m vibin’ on the power trip. Like and it really fit in with the season, like Prada’s really strong printed Edwardian (lmfao I prob got that era wrong but whatever) dudes and then Raf did that leather and faux leather really creepy serial killer boy show of all black. This played somewhere between those two shows, but in a lighter way where you just kinda wanna wear shop for this stuff. Like it’s really hard but also kinda cute and loose.
Iris: This collection seemed more uptight in comparison to his previous men’s show where it looked more loose, casual vibes. YSL FW12 was kinda like covered and buttoned up. Like there aren’t any short shorts or like shirtless with a suit looks shown here like his previous collections. The sweater look (Look 20) it sorta looks like one of those hospital screen lifelines nurses put on patients and is holding onto dear life.
Daniel: I thought that was supposed to be a razor blade? Cuz it looks like this one my desk partner had in some Gateway to Technology class where we made race cars out of wood lmfao. True though, the entire collection leans more 80s and 90s than 70s just in like a tonal and silhouette way. The uptight-ness kinda manifests itself in the overworking and obsession with materials and layers and stuff that’s happening like, it’s a little stressful. Like razor blade, or even a blinking lifeline, it’s pretty telling of his time at YSL and how he was like “deuces!”
Daniel: I loved his first collection for Ermenegildo Zegna, it was so fresh and cool and it felt so easy but in a really elevated way.
Iris: I think new ways to fold cuffs? Taking notes.
Daniel: The cuffs are so him, like the proportions and the styling too. I’m glad that his style is so pervasive in what he’s doing for Zegna, like even more pronounced than it has been in YSL. Or maybe it just feels more free.
Iris: I really like the colors although I do enjoy no color really, I was kinda excited to see more color presented near the middle-end of the show. In my mind the order of the looks are this story I made up where the beginning where its the navy suit or like gray coat, it’s a Monday morning and the Zenga man is off to his 9-5 job and the days of week goes by nearing the weekend and that’s when he pulls out the color and shorts and no shirts. Then the closing looks hes back to business because its Monday again and the cycle repeat. But I keep thinking like if this show was shown backwards with closing looks opening, and opening closing the show, I think the whole vibe of the show would be totally different maybe its just me?
Daniel: I agree it gets much more subdued toward the end, and I don’t think those would make enough of an impact to open. But like, it seems smart to close with a gray suit because that’s so what the brand is about and like whatever. (Literal biggest distributor of men’s suits or something like okay breh.) BUT my favorite part of the show is like Look 25 t0 Look 38 when it’s like beach loungewear, but high high luxe and stuff. The DRAMA of Look 28.
Iris: Everything is almost belted, like all the pants and coats are like belted and if the coat isn’t belted the jacket under it is belted. Although, I do enjoy like a lil cute belted coat look I do prefer his more like oversized bigger silhouetted coats in Looks 5, 27, and 36 (sorta why YSL FW11 is my fave??).
Daniel: Yeah, but like the coats don’t have actual waists, so they would be like flowing and cocooning without the belts, which I like the options. Like everything in this show is so cool and broken down, it feels so easy to slip into this wardrobe or take cues from it to change up whatever you have already. So elegant. Too much elegance. And the fabrics look so lucious lmao like Demy’s jacket Look 36 I just need to address it. It’s like spongey weird neoprene but it’s NOT and it’s like knitted nylon or whatever. My response is tripping.
Iris: I honestly had never seen this campaign until you showed me it last night. It’s not bad, but it can be better? Better how though?? I think they could’ve done better looks for the campaign. This wasn’t really how I’d imagine the campaign to look like I don’t even understand the story or theme going on in these photos. I feel like its not capturing the essence of the clothes/show in the way I want see (selfish??). It looks like any other mens ad campaign for any brand either mass retails or luxury brand imo, just copy and paste a logo and there you have it. Like this show has such a mood and vibe going on that it can be carried out to a better ad campaign. It also kinda looks too dated. Maybe I’m only saying this because the cast of the show had no older models and it looked a bit more youthful so I was thinking, you know. Although I do like that photo of the gesture of support.
Daniel: I agree! Like so much. I’m not into these images at all. I looked it up more so I could get a better idea of it before I said my opinion, but my gut reaction doesn’t really change. The images are supposed to show like Jamie Dornan in the new Zegna Couture collection, which is what the SS14 show was, and then Paolo Anchisi in the back is chillin’ with his standard Zegna suit. And it’s supposed to like bridge the gap between the two entities? Idk, it just feels like more awkward than anything, in contrast to the show which was so relaxed and easy. I don’t get the setting or the lighting or the way they are interacting. Other than the “gesture of support” image, they don’t really interact at all and it doesn’t feel like they even want to be together, which is like the original goal of even having them both standing there in the two-sides-of-Zegna. You don’t really need to acknowledge the history, because like duh you’re gonna have a gray suit in the store. I wanted an ensemble cast or something, more clothes on show, the styling gets lost here and it doesn’t feel like a strong enough push in any direction.
What did you think of the newsreel campaign video?
Iris: I liked it, it was super cute. I didn’t expect it or I don’ think I could ever think of that concept for the brand. It is sorta off-brand, but I think that’s why I like it, I’m so into off-brand. It’s a mix of ‘Vital Information For Your Everyday Life with Lori Beth’ on All That mixed with your high school broadcast show. Once again just like the ad campaign is, “its not bad, but I can be better”. The concept kinda like enticed (lol) me to keep watching, even tho I have no idea what’s hapening. Can you tell I never know whats going on? I sorta just love anything purposely dumb/low budget stuff, I wouldn’t say because its endearing or anything I just think its more funny in an actual kinda funny way. Cause you know when fashion people try to be funny? Sorta like imagine The City where Olivia Palermo is saying a joke, but actually it sounds more like she delivering the statistics of casualties in WWII.
Daniel: Oh. my. god. I didn’t like it at first because I just don’t like when people dictate brand things to me lmfao, like I want to be given a mood and a feeling rather than like a “hey, check out our new wares!” But it’s growing on me. It’s having fun and that really feels like a forceful push in a new direction. As such an important part of menswear as an industry, Pilati’s work allows them to be the leader in both the commercial and the creative. His first collection really allows him to play with whatever he wants to, like it was that good. I’m really ready for anything he has to show us. Zegna has a distinct fashion identity now, and it’s solely Stefano.