Italians. You can pick them out by the sharpness of their suits, and the care they take over their clothes at just a glance, from Bologna to Belgravia. It’s deeply ingrained in the culture, and so when Ermenegildo Zegna opened for business in 1910, he was merely adding to an Italian tradition that was already centuries old. The company quickly gained a reputation for their fine merino wool made to measure suits, beautifully and classically tailored.
Today, Ermenegildo Zegna, the more than a century-old, Biella-based, family-run textile and luxury goods group, supplies some of the world’s most prestigious tailors and garment manufacturers.
It’s a fourth generation fashion and luxury lifestyle empire spanning 14 factories (seven in Italy; seven overseas), 500-plus stores globally, and three ready-to-wear lines, as well as men’s couture, made-to-measure and luxury accessories. Like Ferrari, it’s one of the most famous and most desirable of Italian luxury brands.
But what is it that makes a Zegna suit so special? The Ermenegildo Zegna look is all about immaculate, confident and above all, competent tailoring. It’s the winning formula of understated Italian masculine style and the quality of the fabrics.
Zegna’s top of the line Couture suits are the zenith of fine tailoring—each suit is fully canvassed, cut, constructed and sewn by hand, with each garment requiring over 33,000 stitches and 18 hours of skilled craftsmanship. The look can only be achieved with top quality fabrics, chosen for their high performance and elegant draping.
Australian superfine merino wool
For that, you have to go all the way to Australia, to the vast merino wool sheep farms, where jeans and Blundstones boots are much more the order of the day. Few customers buy more of the superfine wool than Ermenegildo Zegna. They order 2.3 million metres of it every year. That’s comfortably further than Land’s End to John O’ Groats covered in quality suiting.
While today it’s easy to walk into any Ermenegildo boutique around the world, from Milan to Manila, Singapore to Sao Paulo and select from a dazzling array of well cut, classical suits, it’s also possible to opt for their made to measure service, where you can pick your cloth and define your own style.
Zegna star appeal
Zegna is the suit of choice for Presidents, pop stars and Hollywood movie actors and moguls. George Clooney appeared in Zegna in the hit movie The American. President Obama has been known to wear Zegna to address the nation. Mick Jagger often favours Zegna jackets and Zegna EZ sneakers. Several male celebrities turn to Ermenegildo Zegna for award nights because all the thinking has been done – you simply can’t go wrong, the cut, the colour and the cloth will automatically reflect good grooming.
Here we have picked some classic styles from the Ermenegildo Zegna range, in double and single breasted in a range of finishes and fabrics – including their latest Spring 2013 line of luxury silk suitings in a range of rich colours that only the Italians would dare to introduce.
If you don’t cause women to swoon with these power dressing suit and watch ensembles, come back to me for a full refund.
The suit: Grey double breasted
Suit lines are getting increasingly slimmer and sharper, and this double breasted suit reflects that perfectly. The suit is made from Trefeo, a staple of the Couture collection. Strength, softness and resiliency are the main characteristics of Trefeo (100% wool), a worsted fabric made of prestige Australian Superfine merino wool with long fibres.
The watch: Girard Perregaux Ermenegildo Zegna Centennial Watch
This watch was introduced to mark the centennial of the brand in 2010, it may be difficult to get hold of now, but highly respected Swiss watchmakers still make watches for Zegna. Sensibly, Zegna chose to go to one of the high-end Swiss manufactures for their watches, and this 40mm wide 18k pink gold case watch is powered by the in-house Girard-Perregaux Calibre 3300-0042 automatic movement. Note how the soft blue of the shirt and the gold of the tie perfectly complement the watch casing and minute and second hands. Sub dials display the date, month and seconds.
The suit: Ermenegildo Zegna blue single breasted
This suit is from the 2011 collection, but two years on, it would still look razor sharp on any well honed man. That’s thanks once again to the immaculate drape of fine merino wool expertly and classically tailored. Good suits don’t last a couple of seasons, they should look good for decades and this has been the Zegna approach from the start.
The watch: A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk
A special suit deserves a special watch, and they don’t come much more special than the A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk. This is A. Lange & Söhne’s very first mechanical wristwatch with a digital time display format. Hours and minutes are indicated with jumping numerals that always deliver a precise reading. The dominant feature of the watch is the time bridge, which as part of the movement penetrates the dial and simultaneously constitutes the frame for all time indications. The black strap and silvery dial will add extra snap to this suit to create a masterwork of Italian style and German haute horology.
The suit: Grey plaid single breasted
This is called the Milano fit, a byword for supremely elegant Italian suiting that will achieve stand out in any situation. In super soft and luxuriously draping merino wool, plaid takes a little more confidence to wear than a plain suit, but as you can see, teamed with the right shirt and accessories, it can look like sartorial dynamite.
The watch: Cartier Pasha Seatimer
The Cartier name conjures up images of aspiration, wealth, royalty and the finest of jewellery manufacturing. This time around it’s Italian flair with consummate French watchmaking. This 40mm watch is powered by a calibre 049 Automatic movement. The blue steeled hour and minute hands echo the hue of the tie, while the subtle grey tone of the stainless steel casing will blend perfectly with the grey fleck of the suit. The central square railway track on the dial even has its own subtle plaid effect.
The suit: Brown silk single breasted
“Passion for Silk” is Zegna’s latest theme for Spring 2013. It emphasises the refined masculinity of summer silk – a noble and pure fabric reinterpreted with the sartorial precision of a modern atelier. Whether printed, dyed or infused with finishes of extraordinary performance, Zegna’s silks form the perfect foundation for a summer wardrobe that never sheds its masculine allure. Although they used to say no brown in town, you could set London alight in a stunning couture suit of this hue.
The watch: Breguet Type XXI Flyback chronograph
A grail watch such as the Breguet Type XXI Flyback chronograph in 18k pink gold, with a tobacco dial is the perfect time-telling accessory for this suit. Originally developed for the French Airforce, the watch features Arabic numerals, and comes on a dark brown alligator strap. Observe how the warm shades of the 18k pink gold casing and the brown earthy hues of the dial work superbly with the suit. The watch features the date at 6 o’clock, and is powered by an automatic flyback chronograph movement, with day and night indicator, and a bi-directional bezel.
The suit: Blue silk single breasted
A scene stealing ensemble from the new Zegna Spring 2013 collection. Can you pull off a silk blue suit? This is A list celebrity style dressing for which you need plenty of charisma and confidence. But an immaculately cut suit such as this from the Zegna Couture range will give you a feeling of authority and panache the moment you slip it on.
The watch: Christiaan van der Klaauw Mondial
A suit of rare colour and cloth deserves a watch of rare calibre and capability. The Christiaan van der Klaauw Mondial in 18k pink gold is an excellent choice for this suit. As daring and different as the jacket, the gold and blue tones combine to create a rich and luxurious allure. Dutchman Christiaan van der Klaauw is one of the true Masters of Watchmaking. He began by creating exceptional clocks in 1974, many of which today are unique pieces and collector’s items. Many of his watches are devoted to astronomy with a range of high-end and unusual complications, many of which are hand-made.
A fresh off the hanger Ermenegildo Zegna suit will cost from around £1,600 and steadily increase if you opt for the Couture or Made to Measure service, but you simply can’t put a price on the effect it will have when you enter the room.
That’s why Zegna remains one of the secrets of power dressers the world over.