On Thursday evening in Florence, Paul Surridge and Murray Scallon merged their tailoring and sports lines for Z Zegna and reminded Pitti what it’s all about.
When Pitti Immagine is on, Florence becomes one giant runway of suit-clad dandies in their summer tailoring and shoes with no socks. The forty-something-year-old menswear fair is the high fortress of sartorialism: the more shorts-suits, ties, collars, pocket squares, and Panama hats the better, and mercy on the man who braves the streets of Florence at this time of year in just a t-shirt and jeans. For the Italians, who are celebrating six decades of Made In Italy this summer, tailoring is an everyday thing – even for young men, who make the relative constrictiveness of a suit look entirely effortless and comfortable. For young men in the English-speaking parts of the world, tailoring is something you wear to work or on formal occasions, and while menswear forces like Pitti Uomo provide a promotional haven for suit enthusiasts around the world, tailoring still isn’t something easily sold to a young male customer.
After seasons of hosting special guest shows by fashion houses, who weren’t necessarily tailoring brands, this season Pitti embraced its suit-friendly reputation and invited Z Zegna to Florence. Featuring the easier, younger diffusion line of Ermenegildo Zegna was a clever move on their part, simply because the label excels in the discipline that lies at the heart of Pitti: making tailoring desirable for a younger audience. Thursday evening’s collection – part catwalk show, part parkour performance – merged Paul Surridge’s Z Zegna line with Murray Scallon’s Z Zegna Sport line, effectively creating exactly the kind of tailoring called for by a modern, young customer. “It was about how we could blend the sportified attitude into a tailoring concept and vice versa: how do we re-evaluate how sportswear should be? To be energising and still very beautiful together even when co-ordinated with tailored pieces,” Scallon told i-D after the show.
If the parkour boys jumping around various scaffolding in tailoring didn’t give the flexibility-centric core of the collection away, it was all there in styling. Lightweight tailoring was layered with performance pieces and backed up with trainers featured throughout the show. “A joining of strengths, we like to put it. Both the sartorial expertise of Z Zegna and the advanced urban sportswear technology of Z Zegna Sport,” Surridge noted. “It’s a new urban uniform, really.” The designers wanted to convey the idea of the urban commuter, “but it’s not just about twenty-four/seven travel and business,” Surridge explained, emphasising the everyday, young approach of the collection. “Dresscodes are so much more flexible now. It’s about being real with the appeal,” Scallon said. For Z Zegna, Pitti provided the spotlight it shines so well and manifested a completely defined philosophy for the brand. For Pitti, the Z Zegna collection pretty much carved out the importance of the Florentine fair. It’s all about the future of tailoring.