For its 110th anniversary, the Italian brand returns home, continuing a legacy of conservation

Ermenegildo Zegna’s Summer 2021 “phygital” fashion show interfaces with three converging elements that encompass the most critical issues of today: human, machine, and nature. This July, Zegna is celebrating 110 years as a family business, making this show a jubilee that aims to highlight both the brand’s innovation and its conservation practices.

The show took place in the birthplace of the brand, Oasi Zegna, a natural park in the foothills of the Italian Alps, where Ermenegildo Zegna started a reforestation project in the early 20th century to “revive an arid and over-exploited tract of mountain terrain” and create a microclimate also suitable for his company’s wool mill. #UseTheExisting, Zegna’s present-day environmentally-conscious campaign and clothing line aims to follow a legacy of design and production harmonious with the natural world. Through the use of circular production practices, garment materials are made, recycled, and brought to life again in a regenerative loop.

Zegna’s Summer 2021 video features models glossily flowing through seemingly unbound spaces. With the use of skillful video editing, we see uninterrupted strides through nature trails, aisles of the textile manufactory, and finally a rooftop where models are cheered on by artistic director Alessandro Sartori and other members of the Zegna team. Drone shots of the rooftop finale capture the aura of the full collection––with models standing in formation and a view of the surrounding natural scenery behind them. In an appendix to the fashion show video, Sartori describes some of the garments in his collection––exhibiting the dapperness of sportswear pieces and highlighting the versatility of lightweight fabrics, shirt-jacket hybrids, and cotton-silk materials ideal for summer.

With a collection of such cool elegance and almost majestic tranquility, we are reminded that exploring the intersection of human, machine, and nature is integral to our current moment. An excerpt from the show’s webpage sums up this collection’s conceptual stance and purpose: “Nature served man and man served the machine. And now man must honor nature again.”

Document Journal: What music should be playing when you see the collection?

Alessandro Sartori: What I create and design is strictly linked to the music I like. Music is an integral part of my work: it is inspiration, it is openness, it is a sort of voice from the soul. I am very passionate about music, I follow trends coming from all over the world, but the music I am obsessed with is the electronic.

Document: Where should we imagine the runway is?

Alessandro: Imagine a journey from reality to your dream places and return.

Document: One person, alive or dead, who embodies the spirit of this collection?

Alessandro: The spirit is truly Italian and if I had to imagine someone who can embody this collection from cinema, it is Marcella Mastroianni.

Document: Describe your personal favorite outfit? Where would you first wear this look in a post-pandemic world?

Alessandro: Since I love blending tailoring and utilitarian pieces for my personal outfits, I would choose tailored cargo pants worn with an oversize knitted t-shirt, a boxy one bottom blazer and a couture pair of sneakers for a trip to one of my favourite cities in the world; it would also be the perfect environment for it. The full outfit would be all black.