Z Zegna SS14 Manifesto

  • Creative Director Paul Surridge on Sol LeWitt’s abstract art and his own collage of sensibility


    Interview by David Hellqvist
    Photography by Luca Campri

    This is my fourth collection for Z Zegna. For me, it’s always been an evolution, not a revolution. I was very happy with the last collection, the AW13 season, and this was very much a continuation of that. We start very early on with the collection – some designers give themselves 10 weeks in the lead up to the show, we start day after ours. We sit down, dissect the collection and look forward; what can be take with us from this collection into the next one? I try and find a balance between new innovative ideas and emotion. I don’t think fashion expresses enough feelings today – it’s all about products. I’m more interested in carving out a niche for the brand, finding our identity. We do that through specific styling, this time around we ‘summerfied’ a few items from last season, like the knitted vests and the oversized bed shirts. For me, since I’m quite new in the role of Creative Director, evolving the styling process of each season is very important. I’m still learning.

  • Zegna-2

    For SS14, we wanted to create new dimensions, garments with a 3D feel. Therefore the fabrication was very important. I had gone to the DIA:Beacon gallery, a two hour drive outside Manhattan, to see Sol LeWitt’s abstract art. I was gobsmacked by his graphic wall art. It was like mathematical drawings of geometrical patterns – I’m obsessed with that! Earlier in my life, I wanted to be an architect so I appreciate that mathematical approach to art. Because of this I wanted fabrics with movement for this collection. We used lots of textured fabrics, like seersucker, for the suits. None of the fabrics felt flat, rather there was an immaculate and familiar feeling to them. They’re all woven, not washed or treated. I often use collage images for references, it makes the collection less one track minded. Instead, the collection is unified by a strong point of view. We played a lot with opposites this time around; there were both ├╝ber formal and really relaxed fits. We had both day and night clothes, but the idea of event clothes is kind of new to me so I made sure we did it our way. We contrasted the evening-wear with casual daywear, so you saw pyjama suits and formal cuts made with relaxed fabrics. I wanted a young feeling but not in terms of age – it was about a fresh and youthful approach to unpretentious and democratic fashion. We cut both skinny and boxy, everyone can wear the clothes. I call it a collage of sensibility!