On Saturday, Stefano Pilati showed his debut collection for Italian menswear giant Ermenegildo Zegna, his first work since his dismissal from Yves Saint Laurent in February 2012. And it was good! (Let’s not forget, he got his start in menswear at Armani before he moved on to Prada in 1995.) While his women’s wear collections for Saint Laurent were always hit or miss, his return to old-school Italian suiting was sure-footed and well-received: Cathy Horyn raved about his understated use of color and pattern, particularly pants made of “a floral jacquard that nearly resembled a paisley,” and WWD deemed the clothes “sophisticated-yet-sprightly.” And let’s not overlook those long-sleeved shirts scrunched up at the wrists, like something a little kid would wear if he’s getting his hands dirty but still has to look nice.
Pilati’s strong start probably has to do with the abundant financial support he’s gotten at Zegna: these designs are the first of their new “couture” line, and will cost 50 percent more than their normal collection, according to WWD. So if these outfits look more expensive than Zegna’s normally do, it’s because they are. Anyway, bravo to Pilati for landing at a house where he’s appreciated.