The new project is called Atelier Zegna, and is the brainchild of Gildo Zegna and Alessandro Sartori. The two men – respectively CEO and creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna – share a common vision, both short- and medium-term (perhaps even long-term); besides an affinity in origin and background, possibly even in temperament.
Atelier Zegna is one of many projects born in early 2016, when Sartori met Zegna and accepted the latter’s proposal that he should return to the Biella-based firm, after five years as Head of Design for Berluti. “It started out as ‘let’s grab a quick cup of coffee’ and the meeting was supposed to take no more than a few minutes of our time.
Instead, it lasted almost seven hours, the length of time it took us to lay the foundations of all sorts of projects, establishing the respective priorities – says Sartori –. In January 2017, we presented Z Zegna at Pitti [Uomo], followed by the couture show in Milan and the presentation of our campaign with Robert De Niro in New York. Now, at last, the time has come for Atelier Zegna.” Not to mention that in November 2016 Zegna inaugurated a bespoke atelier in London dedicated only to shoes.
“We’ve been offering ‘made-to-measure’ solutions for the past twenty years and were the first to extend these to every type of product – Gildo Zegna confirms –. The ‘bespoke’ line that's coming to life in Milan is taking us to a whole new level, parallel to the made-to-measure and inspired by the same philosophy, but with slightly different timing and rules.”
The Atelier can be accessed both through the store in via Monte Napoleone, and a very discreet front door in via Bigli: the choice is up to customers. Here are the characteristics of the parallel universes mentioned by the group’s CEO: a made-to-measure suit costs upwards of €1,000, a bespoke suit goes from €5,000 to €10,000. The former requires one fitting and ten hours' work, the latter requires four encounters with the tailors (who can fly over to wherever the customer happens to be) and 75 hours of manual work.
“The timing is different, too – Zegna points out –. Made-to-measure is slow luxury you need to wait for eight weeks; bespoke is very slow luxury: the tailors need at least three months. There are 200 manufacturing stages and 150 components to each suit.” The amount of cloth is the same, four meters, while the workmanship differs: “The fabric itself can be customized in the case of bespoke suits: the client can either choose one from our immense archive or bring his own sample. He can even – Sartori continues – consult us in matters of style, over and beyond how the suit fits. We have allocated ten looms dating back to the 1960s to the Atelier project, looms that follow a craftsmanlike logic that borders on handmade.”
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