Ermenegildo Zegna hosted VIP guests and celebrities at the Zegna Suite in Fullerton Hotel on 16 September 2018, Sunday, to watch the final race of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix. Gildo Zegna, CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna Group, and Alessandro Sartori, Artistic Director of Ermenegildo Zegna, were present at the event to meet guests and VIP attendees from around the world. It was an adrenaline-filled night witnessing Lewis Hamilton clinch the win and revelling in an upclose, unblocked view of the celebratory fireworks after.
Men’s Folio was privileged to have a chat with Artistic Director Alessandro Sartori before the race to find out more about his creative direction across the Zegna lines and pick his brains on the state of fashion today.
Welcome to Singapore, could you share why you have decided to make a stopover here?
We like the feeling and energy of the city because it’s like a small universe – there are a lot of different people, a lot of different cultures. We have three stores, we have a store we particularly love, which is Marina (Bay Sands) and there is a beautiful Formula One event and the Singapore team has been organising these for a few years now, so we want to consolidate our relationship with the country, with the people, with you, with the customers, so we decided to put the two things together and to do this event, with the trunk show, with a couple of interview and with a couple of other meetings.
What does the symbol “XXX” mean to you when designing for the couture line, outside of its definition of manual craft?
The “XXX” is not only a symbol, but is a meaning. The “XXX” of course is the logo of the couture collection but also has multiple meanings I would say. As a symbol it means manual craft because a single “X” is the typical criss-cross stitch that we do for the bespoke and couture garment. In the visible part, but also in the hidden parts, like inside the linings, inside the shoulders, inside the splits of the pants, and of course in the visible parts, outside the lining, outside the pockets and so on. The reason why it was chosen in 2006 for the just-born couture collection and we decided to expose it on the outside as logo, because we like the graphics particularly, for modern movement, for modern people, for a younger mindset, and that’s the reason why we decided to emphasise it, to make it bigger and bolder.
So, would you say it’s a reaction to the trend of logomania that is prevalent to fashion?
Even before the logo trend, it was an idea to take the symbolism of craft into a logo. Then after the logo became important, at that point, it was a good thing to have and use it. But I find it particularly interesting to not use the name, or to not use a newly created symbol. But to take a symbol which is arriving from craft, and to translate it into a logo.
What are your thoughts about celebrities turned designers, who do collaborations?
It could be a very long answer. First of all, I see celebrities designing objects before with furniture. Now, it’s fashion, maybe tomorrow it will be food, I’m kidding but I’m not and they’re so talented that they can design whatever they like. In the same way and at the same time, I see other celebrities that are trying to design objects which are horrible. I don’t think there is a specific rule that puts together these two and is the perfect combination. It’s just about talent, and the final customer – maybe at the first sight doesn’t get it, but later, he gets it. So I like well thought-out things and the things done by talented people. Doesn’t matter if they are VIP or if they aren’t, but the personality of the designer is still important. Because he (the celebrity) is influencing then yes, it (status) is important, but again the talent should be the first point, even before personality. Then again, it’s my opinion.
Androgyny has become a buzzword in fashion and many women have openly shared their love for menswear, do you have plans to introduce women in your runway and presentations?
No, we don’t. It’s funny because some stores around the world share about products that has been purchased by women – maybe small (sized) top, more jackets, sometimes leather product. But no, because i think the strength of Zegna is to be concentrated on menswear, we are recognised for that and we want to be even bolder in menswear.
Read the full interview in the October’18 issue of Men’s Folio.