The Rue de l’Université hôtel particulier is as brightly lit as a James Turrell installation, and in an upstairs room Zegna’s Alessandro Sartori and The Elder Stateman’s Greg Chait are meeting. The Paris launch of their two-and-a-half-year collaboration was due to begin in a few hours.
A century-old Italian boutique suitmaker and a Southern California upstart purveyor of tie-dyed cashmere sweaters might seem like an odd couple, but isn’t that the best way to work together? Although they come from different places, both brands put materials at the center of their practice, and both are very, very fond of yarn.
“We started with meaning — not marketing reasons,” Satori said. We can do a lot of collaborations, they can do as many or more; we have brands everywhere, but we do very few projects. We started off by saying, if we do this, what can we do to make the trip enjoyable? ’ The answer was cashmere yarn.
“I’m very excited to be able to make yarn for this collection,” says Chait. “We’re a vertical business ourselves; we do hand-dyed, Hand looming and hand knitting, but yarn has always been something that has fascinated me so much, and that’s how I started, randomly learning how to hand spin yarn. Yarn is literally the unsung hero of all things. “
“It’s the food of fashion,” interjects Sartori.
At Zegna, Sartori developed a firm belief that knit was “the medium of the future”— — not only for sweaters, but also for items such as jackets and suits that are often made from woven fabrics. In fact, under his direction, Zegna’s shows have moved away from the traditional tailoring on which the brand is based The collaboration features many of these knit pieces, including a button-down collar shirt in cashmere with a brushed front and soft shag, but smooth on the skin on the inside. Not only is the technology beautiful, but Sartori suggests it protects the material …Ultimately, it can be circulated or recycled, because there is no construction. To extend the food metaphor, there are no additives that are bad for you, only natural fibers made in a traceable way.
furry The cashmere shirts and trousers are alluring, not least because The Elder Statesman’s lurid colors are rooted in its Venice Beach origins. Among other temptations: long down jackets with knitted cashmere stripes on the outside, sun-faded cashmere “flanges” Cashmere” and casual corduroy suits with 90/10 cashmere and cotton blend for durability and come in lavender, yellow and berry pink. Delicious .