Since Covid-19 hit in the beginning of 2020, Zegna had been exclusively presenting its collections virtually while still sticking to its Milan Fashion Week Men’s schedule. It’s first pandemic-era fashion presentation was for spring/summer 2021 and took place in its headquarters in Trivero, Italy.
For spring/summer 2023 — Zegna’s first live fashion runway in two years — it was back to Trivero once again, a two-hour drive from the main Milan Fashion Week Men’s centre. And for the first time, Zegna was the closing act to the Milan menswear show season, as opposed to its usual opening slot on the first day.
Artistic director Alessandro Sartori has pretty much cemented a strong aesthetic for Zegna, especially over the past three years. There’s little surprise to just how clean, almost starkly minimal, and modern the Zegna man has become. Sartori focused a lot on building a modern menswear wardrobe based around the traditional notions of tailoring, and then subverting them in very palatable ways.
For spring/summer 2023, the aesthetic continued but in refreshing ways that were subtle and perhaps cognisant to those who have been following the artistic director’s vision for quite sometime now. For starters, Sartori’s favoured earth-toned palette and penchant for monochromatic styling relatively remained throughout. It was in the middle of the line-up that the collection was jolted with butter yellow — a bold hue that we’ve rarely seen from Sartori.
There was a palpable sense of lightness throughout too. And while this wasn’t surprising given the technical know-how of materials that Zegna is known for, it’s a deft skill given the atypical materials employed in a number of the looks. Knitwear came in a variety of constructions — engineered, loose mesh knitting, and intarsia — with varying degrees of tactility. But all of them seemed to move easily as models walked down the runway. Rubberised leather (as seen on look 23) seemed like stiff latex but once again, felt as fluid as the rest of the collection’s roomy cut trousers.
What’s interesting was the use of sheerness to double-down on the lightness of the entire collection. It definitely is not something we’ve seen much from Sartori — a creative who pushes the boundaries of traditional menswear but still within familiar frames. But it’s a detail that still felt true to the brand and the aesthetic as a whole; a steady evolution of where the brand could head towards.
In addition to the revealing-but-not-so detail, was the more obvious branding introduced in the spring/summer 2023 collection. ‘Zegna’ made an appearance on a few tops (looks 11, 16 and 31) on the top left of each. What would have usually (if at all) been the ‘XXX’ signifier, was replaced by the atypically obvious branding. But Zegna did undergo a total rebranding less than a year ago, shortening its name to simply Zegna, and it does make sense to include it in a more obvious manner — once again, subtly so.
Sneakers continue to be a prevailing conversation in fashion with collaborative iterations often steering it. Zegna introduced a collaborative effort on the runway with Daniel Bailey or more known as Mr. Bailey among sneaker aficionados. The collaboration is (once again) a subtle one with the brand’s Triple Stitch sneakers given slight updates in the form of a mesh-like liner, a cracked appearance as well as a sportier lacing system. It’s no adidas x Gucci but for those who’ve grown to adore the Triple Stitch for its simplicity, it’s a collaboration that’s a testament to Zegna’s constant exploration of traditional codes and boundaries.
View the full Zegna spring/summer 2023 collection in the gallery below.