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Zegna Men’s Spring 2024

Artistic director Alessandro Sartori continues to revisit the men's suit and for spring he worked a lot with linen in different forms, resulting in a beautiful, modern-looking collection.

Zegna men's spring 2024GIOVANNI GIANNONI/WWD

“What’s the new suit of today?” That is a question Alessandro Sartori has been asking himself, as he says he has been “working with the idea of modern tailoring” and wondering whether men use the suit now. In his view, the new suit is made of “matching shirt and pants, a matching tank top with a nice short, a new form of wearing two pieces made in the same color and fabric.”

For spring 2024, that fabric is mainly linen — reflected by the 192 bales of raw linen punctuating the San Fedele square in Milan, where Zegna’s artistic director staged his open-air show — a square he believes is “a little secret,” less trod by tourists, despite its proximity to the La Scala theater and the Duomo cathedral. As for the colors, they were exquisite, from mint green and orange to flamingo pink, juxtaposed with earth tones, jute, gray and chocolate brown. But the direct early afternoon sunlight and soaring temperatures took away some of the quality of the hues, which would have gained from a softer dusk glow — not to mention avoided grumblings from guests forced to furiously fan themselves with anything in their hands, including the canvas caps provided by the house.

No matter, the collection was beautiful and, par for the course with Sartori, thought out to the minutest detail. Before the show, the designer explained that the bales had been transported from Normandy, where flax is grown with its blue flowers that bloom for just a day in early summer,​ and will re-enter the production chain once the show is over, to be crafted in Italy, as Zegna is committed to certifying Oasi Lino fibers as 100 percent traceable by 2024. This is a reference to the Oasi Zegna, which telegraphs the brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Linen, said Sartori, helps to achieve fluidity of fit for different bodies and demographics — cue the diverse casting. He is aiming for “an efficient wardrobe, creating a system of elements — tops, bottoms, underpinnings and accessories — that can be combined and self-styled to one’s liking. It’s the idea of the uniform that prompts non-uniformity and freedom in the combinations. We tried many different natural fibers but we noticed that linen, because of its nature, is the closest to cashmere. This seems counterintuitive, but linen actually can be treated in many different ways, including in the upper of the shoe.”

Sartori mainly delivered two shapes — an oversized, boxy one on shirts, outerwear, knitwear, jackets and coats, and a skinny shape, a little shorter and with different proportions.

He removed any padding or canvas in the garments for lightness, hence the deconstructed jackets and breezy shirts. Vests doubled as tank tops and Zegna’s sack jackets with three-quarter length sleeves introduced last season were revisited for spring, worn over full pants.

In some looks, the colorblocking was interrupted by irregular lines or undulating stripes. Sartori introduced a new lapel, which is bonded in the same shape as the collar, and part of the front itself.

Over the years Sartori has built an encyclopedic knowledge of fabrics and techniques and constantly researches new ones, adding textures. Examples included linen gabardine, linen faille or sating linen, washi-paper, raffia, silk or mohair poplin, silk canvas, or hammered nubuck, to name a few.

The designer also underscored that even the sleeveless tops were all tailor made in the made-to-order atelier, taking up to 12 hours to complete for the perfect fit.

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