Ermenegildo Zegna Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Milan
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The Milan Spring/Summer 2014 menswear season started off very strong with the highly anticipated return of designer Stefano Pilati to the fashion world as the head of design at the powerhouse menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna.

Out of the public eye since his departure from Saint Laurent in 2012, Pilati was named to the position way back in September of last year but, unlike most designers who are appointed to a house and rush to make a collection in time for the next round of shows, Pilati took his time before returning to the catwalk.

The results of that break, spent not only recharging his fashion batteries but also clearly doing a lot of research at the Zegna textile factories, could clearly be scene on the runway today.  The designer created a giant oval space out of mile high movie screens, which circled the audience and projected close up footage of the Zegna production chain whirling away, interspersed with images of the pianist Maxence Cyrin performing an original piece of music for the show.  The beautifully executed clothing Pilati produced for the house transmitted a wholly modern sensation of easy and elegance.

A dapper dresser himself Pilati, whose inclination for neck scarves and slip on shoes worn sans socks both made it into the show, was able to -in just one collection- put his own stamp on a house that arguably was in need of some signature styles. He did this most obviously in his choice to add wide contrasting colored cotton cuffs on a large portion of his well-tailored suit jackets. A bomber jacket embellished with a shimmering beaded grid pattern was another instantly identifiable look. Also noticeable was Pilati’s restrained use of jacquard fabrics, and wool pieces crafted with a subtle raised floral pattern.

Underneath all of the sartorial savior-faire on display was another important element of the show, the color palette. Pilati’s sophisticated mix of shades that saw classic black, white and navy working well with more unexpected colors like apricot, jade, Bordeaux, antique pink and coral brought another level of luxury and desirable complexity to this fine show.

- Jessica Michault

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