Luxury men’s wear growth is eclipsing women’s. Guys actually care about style, now, and they’re buying more of it. China! You’ve heard it all before, with less talk about how the sector itself, particularly old school fashion houses, are keeping up with and acclimatizing to the growth that they’re enjoying.
In the go-to Italian men’s fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna’s case, the 103-year-old company took on designer Stefano Pilati after his departure from Yves Saint Laurent. In an interview this weekend with The Wall Street Journal, Pilati discusses his new contributions to luxury men’s wear and his own relationship with fashion, Italy, and now, Berlin, while incidentally revealing how the sphere in which he now works can appeal to its growing, enthusiastic customer base.
First off, if men want more luxury, give them more options, at an increasingly elevated level. With Pilati’s advent at Zegna came a new Zegna Couture line, which is almost all handmade and offers a wider range of styles than Zegna’s typical suits. Because the line also represents the brand’s first-ever central vision of a creative director, Zegna Couture informs all the other company divisions.
Keep face. Zegna is known for high-quality fabrics and attention to detail — quiet showmanship. Over the past three years, however, the house has started staging shows (actually predating Pilati’s arrival, though now they are all his domain). The effort goes with that whole super high end lifestyle image thing, which men now seek out almost on par with the ladies.
Furthermore, diversify. Zegna, which Pilati points out is a huge business, offers Zegna Sport and Z Zegna, more affordable options with broader appeal. Because of the house’s overall commitment to the best in fabrics and Italian style, the lower-end lines reach younger, newer audiences without detracting from the brand’s luxury image.
Speaking specifically to the recent evolution of men’s wear, Pilati points out that guys are seeking slimmer fits, as they become “more body-conscious,” and now see the appeal in the “broken suit,” comprised of pieces from different suits that are still thematically in keeping with one another, and never totally mismatched. And on a final note expect to see Zegna keeping pace with technology. Pilati alluded to the brand’s commitment to natural fibers, albeit with the very modern exploration of “enhancing components” to evolve their fabrics.