Milan Men's Fashion Week FW16: Ermenegildo Zegna

Milan Men's Fashion Week FW16: Ermenegildo Zegna

The art of embellishment

Text: Norman Tan

Image: Imax Tree

Stefano Pilati impressed with a sumptuous collection of rich multi-design jacquards, the artful pairing of broken suits, and the marriage of couture embellishments with the label's impeccable tailoring

The set: Intimate, plush and exclusive. Held at the circular arena of Teatro Vetra, the runway and chairs were upholstered in faux mocha-coloured fur; front row attendees even left with an attaché pouch decked out in the same luxe material. It was rather reminiscent of old-school couture presentations among industry veterans and close friends of the designer; especially with models sporting linen numbered tags (tied around wrists or festooned on hats and bags) to denote the look number.

Inspiration: The show notes announced that it was 'a cutting-edge Couture statement', and as a corollary, the offering — the pinnacle of the Ermenegildo Zegna line — was centered on embellishments married with the Italian house's unmistakable flawless tailoring. The result? In an age when embellishments are used to self-promote and self-advertise, designer Stefano Pilati turned it into a chic art. Think: Mock polo neck sweaters hand-embroidered with polka dot sequins, ivory shearling fedoras, and black cap-toe derby shoes elegantly fitted with a perforated leather flap.

Highlights from the runway: It was a collection marked by the clever juxtaposition of rich jacquards, the layering of broken suits and, a Pilati design signature, sophistication through movement by way of generously-cut pleated trousers and billowing coats. Favourites include: The opening look of an oversized double-breasted alpaca coat decorated in a multi-design jacquard and worn over a broken slate-grey suit; the masculine strength of look 11 as embodied by a sleeveless wool gabardine coat worn over a quilted bomber jacket crafted from recycled polyester; and undeniably, the show-stopping knitted coat in a blue and grey wool jacquard embellished with a diamond rope pattern and crown motifs in look 22 (see above).

Something you might have missed: Embroidered mock polo neck sweaters worn backwards in looks 24, 26, 29 and 31 so that the zips opened at the back of the neck instead of the front, and the louche styling of cashmere sweaters tied around the waist and worn under a blouson (look 12) or a double-breasted checked wool blazer (look 16).

Try this at home: It's time to whip out the V-necks. Case in point: Check out the chic simplicity of a knitted V-neck vest in Bordeaux cashmere worn over a buttoned-up white jacquard fil-coupé shirt (look 19), and the handsome pairing of a V-neck sweater in a grey chevron cashmere layered under a single-breasted knitted jacket (look 23). 

Click below to see the full collection.

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To revisit London Collections: Men, click here