by John Russel Jones

Guests who attended Zegna’s Winter 2023 fashion show were treated to a dramatic reenactment of a crucial phase of the brand’s cashmere treatment, showing fibers floating and “precipitating” in an air chamber. This usually unseen process is just one part of Zegna’s innovative, vertically-integrated approach to making the fine fabrics that eventually end up on the runway, in the store, and on the backs of some lucky consumers. Zegna’s Oasi Cashmere development is central to its “Road to Traceability,” part of the company’s commitment to making its fibers fully traceable by 2024. By working with prestigious directly owned mills — including Bonotto, Dondi, Filati Biagioli Modesto, Lanificio Zegna, and Tessitura Ubertino — Zegna’s position as a world-leading name in the creation of fine fabrics.

Artistic Director Alessandro Sartori keeps expanding the idea of Zegna’s sartorial reset by matching functions with shapes, silhouettes, and textures. Materiality is key to his vision: “At Zegna I have the unprecedented opportunity to create fabrics from weaving through to finishing, challenging our manufacturers, and pushing them to explore uncharted waters,” says Sartori. “This allows me to mound our silhouettes right from the matter, making sure that our commitment to innovation and excellence is rooted in every step of the process. The result is an all-encompassing language that is truly progressive.”

A notion of soft precision runs through the collection and is highlighted in the volumes of neatly designed items; cropped bomber jackets, elongated coats, anoraks, blousons, polo shirts, cardigans, and blazers that forego both lapels and collars. New sack-inspired jackets feature cropped sleeves while trousers are full. Airbrushed folds and drawn geometric patterns over longline blousons complement corduroy and pleated suedes to imbue the collection with a vertical rhythm.

Space between clothes and the body is as important as texture throughout the collection, which sees ease and a strong sense of design go hand in hand. Ample fits are augmented by 3D jacquards while geometric motifs are brushed onto puffed-up outerwear. Jerseys are felt-like and felt is rendered as if it were a malleable jersey — allowing for tailored leisurewear to have both presence and performance.

Substantial textures add depth to an array of Oasi Cashmere fabrics, which include double-faced jacquard meltons, coated and uncoated bouclès, frisè jacquards, felts, jerseys, and textiles with brushed and needle-punched finishes. The collection also features granite-effect materials crafted from #UseTheExisting TM sources: alpaca, cotton-blend corduroy, and tactile wool twill.

The muted palette is unexpectedly punctuated by vivid hues: serene greys meet aurora yellow, while foliage Brown is dashed with bacca red and Portofino Blue. Looks are finished with structured handbags, the new Vetta Triple Stitch, and fold-top Boots.

A smattering of outfits features items from the upcoming partnership with the ‘off kilter’ LA-based luxury lifestyle company, The Elder Statesman — the details of which will be fully disclosed at the end of February during Paris Fashion Week, through the second chapter of The Oasi of Cashmere platform. The dialogue behind the collection stems from the idea to offer Zegna’s expertise in fabric making to a peer that shares our value and devotion to craft. The collection expands horizons to take on new stylistic paths alongside The Elder Statesman’s ethos of vertical craftsmanship — an idea integral to the Oasi Zegna mindset.