N°21 © Copyright 2020
“NEW FORMS OF PHYSICALITY”
The quest for a different way of dressing that extends from an analysis of what we now have to an urge to go beyond it with the force of hybrid forms. Elements that meet and mix to tell a new story on the subject of male physicality. Totally free of stereotypes, little compliance with common standards, a strong orientation toward discovering the unexpected. The N21 fall/winter 2020-21 men’s collection takes shape far from characterizing trends so as to find and pursue potential, unfamiliar paths.
Alessandro dell’Acqua, N21 creative director, says: «I began working on this collection with the distinct desire to avoid straying from my creative world. Not to keep it within the confines of my own comfort zone, but quite the contrary to propel it toward a territory of unusual facets and features. Stretching beyond the job of analyzing and updating the basic trends of these last years has enabled me to explore the possibility of a different type of male physicality that’s more consistent with the personality of men who give definition to a fresh elegance through hybrid forms. It’s an innovative vision capable even of narrating a new natural eroticism, one with very little in the way of voyeurism and not at all flirty/seductive of attitude.»
The creative path. Hybridizing forms, rethinking the destinations of fabrics, breaking away from pre-established processes. That’s the fundamental concept behind sweaters with no back, shirts complete with tie in the collar, the shift of faille from women’s couture to more technical clothing, the deviation of mixes away from the usual rules, men’s classic jackets over T-shirts in lace.
The collection. Classic camel color trench coats with tone-on-tone logo print, as well as black faille trench coats with white contrast topstitching, lead the way to: light blue or stripe poplin shirts with bow knot tie-collar; parkas and bombers in animal print nylon; melton peacoats with back in quilted faille; classic black melton jackets with raw-edge borders on top of oversize lace T-shirts in nude or army green tones, in the easiest of combos with classic gray Tasmania pants. Knits are oversize, maybe backless or extra thick, in colorful stripe or animal spot patterns. Shirts have laser openwork detailing, while sport-tech bombers and combat pants are made from couture faille and white poplin boxers well support the classic structure of a black wool jacket. Looks are clean, as items with one eye on what’s classic take turns with short wrap sweatshirts and army style sweaters that succeed in bypassing the streetwear philosophy.
The accessories. Simple, basic, minimal. Black leather boots with two long elastic bands accompany all the looks. Cloche caps in faille add a sweet poetic note to the figure. Thick metal chain bracelets give a decorative feel to an aspect elsewhere thought to be coarse.
The mood. While not wanting to characterize a style, the collection explores new ways of dressing which, taking shape in absolute freedom and with no preconceptions as to gender or sexual orientation, assume a natural erotic quality.
Art for Earth
#UseTheExisting, for Zegna, is an all-encompassing mindset that starts from fabric and extends to clothing and beyond. Ermenegildo Zegna XXX is the vanguard laboratory where, under the artistic direction of Alessandro Sartori, this plurality of actions coalesces into one multifaceted, ever-evolving whole.
This season, even the show’s scenography uses the existing: an immersive installation, hosted in a former Milanese foundry, has been devised in collaboration with multi-media American artist Anne Patterson and made of thousands of ribbons derived from leftover Zegna fabrics. It consists of a massive suspended cube – a play of colour, matter and light – that looks solid but is actually transparent. Giving the material an immaterial quality, it invites viewers to engage and interact, not only with the eyes.
In this geometric forest of ribbons, the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Winter 2020 collection materializes. A redefinition of tailoring captures the spirit of the season, as the Zegna sartorial know-how is explored in new, hybrid directions. The silhouette is neat and layered; the sum of the parts and garments is accentuated; ergonomic details such as flaps and patch pockets add a utilitarian slant.
Three-button suits with slightly boxy, one-breast-and-a-half jackets and tapered trousers are worn under puffy blousons; zip-up overshirts with low collar lines replace traditional shirting. The tailored waistcoat makes a comeback, as a passe-partout, with or without the suit. A process of constant morphing defines evolved shapes: wraparound, belted blazers; voluminous coats with deep back pleats; coat/parka fusions; shirts that double as short-sleeved blousons.
Fabrics get more and more experimental, further expanding the #UseTheExisting approach in weaves and mixes of natural with synthetic fibres. Patterns such as moirè, macro check and digitalized landscapes are rendered in print, jacquard and devorè techniques – alone, or mixed – playing with layers and scales. Even plain fabrics like recycled cashmere flannel or Achillfarm, the suiting wool made entirely from the remnants of suit-making, are highly innovative.
Calf leather is laser-patterned, hand-cut and printed, or distresses and tumbled. A special series of hand-woven, intensely tactile textiles has been developed with the San Patrignano community.
Accessories are pragmatic: bold-soled, polished boots and derbies, oversized bum-bags, soft bags. The newest brand icon INSTA-PACK, a functional crossbody bag inspired by photographers’ attitude, features sartorial details and a Zegna vintage logo from 1980 created by the graphic designer Bob Noorda.
The collaboration with Leica, the legendary German high-end manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products, translates into a desirable array of camera bags, holders and straps that is part of a broader dialogue between the two brands and that will further evolve into photographic projects aimed at portraying modern masculinity through women’s eye.
The metamorphic play of textures and shapes is captured by the muted palette of neutral tones of plaster, sand stone, cloudy sky, brown quartz and dark loden highlighted by touches of rose gold, copper, ember red and peacock blue and finished by matte black.
“At Zegna I have the privilege to experiment at every level, from the mix of fibres to the evolved tailoring shapes – says Alessandro Sartori – It is all about reshuffling or hybridizing categories, breaking boundaries in order to explore new territories: this is our new tailoring lexicon. One experimentation leads to the next, in one seamless dialogue, always keeping in mind that our art should always respect the earth. That’s our mission, as both humans and fashion-makers”.
The installation Art for Earth by Anne Patterson will be open to the public until January 31st 2020.