When Alessandro Sartori named the Zegna Fall Winter 2023 collection as The Oasi of Cashmere, it began a two-fold conversation. First and foremost, a direct pointer to the star fabrication of the night: cashmere.
Secondly, it’s none-too-subtle reminder of how the Zegna family’s nature reserve, the stunning Oasi Zegna, has become a pivotal point of inspiration for Sartori and the nature (pun intended ) of clothing to be created by the Italian house.
To the first point. Sartori’s technical expertise when it comes to fabric, whether it be the manipulation of it for new systems of wearing or the art of tailoring, is arguably unparalleled in the industry. This hands-on knowledge gives him insights into the capabilities of his chosen fibres – in this case cashmere – that somehow seem to escape his peers.
Choosing to focus on cashmere – according to some reports 70 percent of the collection was made using the fibre – is a sartorial flex. Highlighting the fibre’s versatility and practicality, not just its reputation as premium yarn second, Sartori sent a lesson in applied science via clothing down the runway.
Deliciously nubby boucle sweaters, rain-resistant melton (a tough, robust wool woven in twill form) and soft, ultra-light flannels that practically floated over the form while cocooning it with warm layers.
While the colour palette remains the arena of signature neutrals – plums, vicuna-browns, cream, black – graphic weaves and texture brought the surface of the garments to life. Interspersed throughout were lightning flashes of colour: wine reds, mustards and yellows and the occasional bright blue.
While Sartori remains dedicated to the softening of silhouettes and turning tailoring ever more fluid – coats are deconstructed and raw-hemmed and more surprising elements like cropped sleeves – his vision of menswear is ever more structurally sound. Rather than go loud, Sartori is taking an ever softer stance. A literal oasis of tailoring and technicality, if you will.
As a treat, a preview of the upcoming collaboration Zegna has with L.A.-based lifestyle brand, The Elder Statesman, was scattered throughout the collection. The complete collection is set to be revealed next week in Paris.