When considered separately, Italian luxury fashion house ZEGNA and Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand The Elder Statesman strike as completely different beasts. The former boasts an array of classic shapes and heavily favors neutrals, while the latter is known for its bright colors and bold patterns. But despite differing at a glance, both labels were founded on a passion for exceptional quality, making them ripe for collaboration.
Now, the two brands have officially launched ZEGNA x The Elder Statesman. Just last week the duo celebrated the launch at Mayfield in Los Angeles, as well as their new campaign starring actor Daniel Brühl.
VMAN caught up with Alessandro Satori of ZEGNA and Greg Chait of The Elder Statesman to learn more about the collaboration, Oasi Cashmere, and how each of their brand’s devotion to evolution.
VMAN: Can you explain how the collaboration with ZEGNA x The Elder Statesman came to fruition? What did that initial conversation look like?
Alessandro Sartori: It’s such an organic story in the truest sense, we had the pleasure of meeting through mutual friends and connected over our work. The idea to create together came naturally from our conversations. I invited Greg to join us in Oasi – the home of our values, a 100km2 natural territory surrounding the ZEGNA Wool Mill, in the Italian Alps, where everything has started – and the collection took off from there.
VM: What would you say drew both of you to each other’s brands before officially partnering up?
AS: We have a shared sense of what is really important when it comes to design and creating collections, both when you consider what our clients want and need, and also in terms of sustainability and traceability. We share the same medium but interpret it in very different ways typically; the way that Greg has always used color in his collections has been inspirational to me for years.
VM: How do both brand’s style DNA from the streets to Los Angeles and Italy come through in the collection? Was there a creative challenge in keeping both aesthetics without them clashing too much?
AS: What is really beautiful about this collection is that we came together to create a new DNA rooted in the ongoing ZEGNA spirit of Oasi. Oasi Cashmere is a platform to encounter new cultures and visions that are both progressive and responsible, constantly evolving as we work toward becoming fully traceable by 2024. Iconic ZEGNA styles from the brand’s history have been reimagined into relaxed cuts, in vibrant colors with off-kilter patterns.
VM: With The Elder Statesman having built their brand’s reputation in cashmere ready-to-wear since 2007, why did you think they would be a great addition to Zegna’s Oasi Cashmere initiative?
AS: After meeting with Greg and becoming friends over our shared design values and intentions, it felt natural to bring him into the world of Oasi in this formal manner. He has proven over the years to be a master of cashmere and a thoughtful creator for his clients, he has a vision that I feel both aligned with yet also intrigued by.
VM: With Oasi Cashmere’s ongoing exploration and dedication towards being full certified traceable, how do you think this collection reflects the brand’s effort for more sustainable clothing creations?
AS: Traceability and responsibility are design pillars that are becoming increasingly important to the next generation, and Oasi Cashmere is committed to providing collections that fit these requirements without sacrificing style and design. ZEGNA x The Elder Statesman does just this – a collection rooted in iconic silhouettes that will remain special pieces in your closet for years to come.
VM: With the collaboration, what would you say excited you most about partnering with Zegna and having access to the brand’s over one century-storied history of expertise?
Greg Chait: First and foremost, I’m a supply chain fanatic — to me, this is the most interesting part of the design process and the place where we can make the biggest difference. Even before getting to meet the wonderful people of Zegna, I was excited to get ingrained in how they operate.
VM: You mentioned that the collaboration has been in the works for over two and half years—could you tell us what were some of the biggest takeaways and experiences that you had in working with Zegna?
GC: This has been an incredibly informative process. The biggest takeaway so far has come from the privilege of approaching a collection through the lens of a long-staying brand that has been doing this for a century. The care taken in each step of the process has taught me a key lesson: Keep at it, stay true to your values and it will pay off over time.
VM: Having founded your brand in 2007, what were some of the design details and inspirations that you wanted reflected within the pieces that buyers can take notice of? How does the collaboration speak to your brand’s evolution from the last 16 years?
GC: From the beginning, everything that I made had to be able to stand on its own in the world, be the highest quality with no labels, and be able to stand to the next to the best brands. Each item still gets that attention, but we have built a universe around doing things that way, and are constantly expanding upon it.