Zegna and The Elder Statesman Want You to Nerd Out on Cashmere

If “stealth wealth” has been the inescapable buzzword of this season thus far (mea culpa!), a brand new collaboration between Zegna and The Elder Statesman is right here so as to add some heady SoCal taste to the booming vertical of understated clothes made with noble fibers. With a psychedelic coloration palette and an undertone of enlightened sustainability, you would name it one thing extra like—sorry upfront—“well being wealth.”

On a freezing Monday evening in Paris, a gentle stream of trend week-goers ducked right into a Rue de L’Université mansion to have a good time the gathering, years within the making, conceived by Zegna artistic director Alessandro Sartori and The Elder Statesman founder Greg Chait. One attendee referred to as it “the primary nice collaboration” they’d seen in ages, and almost all people else roaming the hôtel particulier couldn’t assist however put their champagne coupes down to the touch and take a look at on the textured cashmere bombers and knit plaid shirts that crammed the area.

I discovered Sartori and Chait upstairs a number of hours earlier than the occasion, in a limoncello-hued room stuffed with  equally colourful clothes. Every man steers a vastly completely different sized ship. Zegna, primarily based in Milan, has been round for some 110 years, and is mainly just like the Intel of trend—via its vertically built-in cloth enterprise, Zegna’s fibers could be present in garments throughout the trade, in addition to in its personal. The Elder Statesman, which Chait based in LA in 2007, is a Chrome Hearts-backed slinger of sunny, handmade sweaters. However when Sartori and Chait met two and a half years in the past, they linked instantly over a shared obsession: cashmere. 

Since Zegna’s home-run collaboration with Worry of God, which kick-started an ’80s-style tailoring revival in menswear circles, Sartori has labored sparingly with different manufacturers. However he and Chait discovered they spoke the identical language. “There’s been a number of nerding out. That is an excessive nerd-out state of affairs,” stated Chait, sporting a dusty purple corduroy go well with from the gathering. “Very a lot so,” added Sartori, who was sporting a lemony cashmere overshirt. Sartori has lengthy been dedicated to pushing cashmere far past the turtleneck: 70% of the Zegna Fall-Winter 2023 runway assortment proven earlier this yr was created from cashmere, a fabric specifically fitted to the deconstructed tailoring and generously-cut casualwear that he has made a precedence on the family-run firm.

Cashmere can also be within the plush DNA of The Elder Statesman, the place it kinds the whole lot from vibey tie-dye cardigans to extra-soft stuffed animals. Plenty of know-how goes into every surfy knit. “Yarn might be probably the most undersung hero of our total trade. I might argue nearly 70% of a very powerful growth is definitely on the fiber yarn degree,” stated Chait. 

The collaboration, set to launch in September, merges Sartori’s shapes—“we began with the mindset of generationless, genderless, outsized,” he stated—with The Elder Statesman’s luxe hippie vibe. Louche scarf robes, woven with thick layers of cashmere, are tailored for a Palazzo Parigi terrace, spliff in hand. And a gauzy yellow plaid knit set—outsized short-sleeve shirt, basketball shorts—was a powerful argument that each one flannel ought to have a excessive cashmere content material. 

Sartori and Chait didn’t go heavy on cashmere only for the sake of it. One of many fiber’s many spectacular qualities is the truth that it may be simply recycled. “Past the unique cashmere, unique yarns, unique development,” Sartori stated, “you would simply regenerate [these pieces] tomorrow.” In fact, it’s simply as possible that wearers will at some point go them all the way down to their youngsters—trend circularity of a unique sort. Accordingly, the items all have double stitching, their stress factors bolstered with handmade development. “We glance very a lot on the aesthetic and the which means of that aesthetic. That’s our job. However we have to begin taking good care of the complete scope, and what’s going to occur after,” Sartori stated.

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