We’re at the end of Sixties and clothes with psychedelic prints and floral or geometrical patterns are all the rage: bell-bottom trousers fill men’s and women’s wardrobes with color. Fashion becomes one of the symbols of the counter-culture of the Sixties and the vibrant colors of people’s clothes can be read as a break with the past. It was in this revolutionary context that TOP was launched in 1967. This 6-monthly magazine was published by Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna & Figli in collaboration with a group of companies that were guiding the elegance and refinement of Italian style in those tumultuous times.
The first issue came out under the guidance of art director Franco Grignani, who produced a striking optical work for the back cover, an important new development in the famous Milan designer’s studies of visual perception. And experimentation wasn’t only in the visual field: it was the dawn of tailoring for Zegna and retail business started to expand, while the 26 issues of TOP that were to accompany its readers till 1979 marked evolutions in style in terms of product, culture and fashion. TOP spoke about craft, quality, excellence of raw materials, tailoring, elegance, creativity, Italian style and international trends. So in the pages of TOP we can already see the DNA underpinning contemporary Zegna’s Made to Measure and “From sheep to shop” process.
Tailors, designers and portraitists of the caliber of Luigi Tarquini, Saverio Spagnolo, Brunetta Mateldi and Emilio Pucci contributed to TOP with stylistic and innovative solutions that have shaped the history of taste. But TOP (distributed in French, English, Spanish and German) not only focused on men’s fashion and new trends but also promoted culture in all its manifestations. Extraordinary studies of the psychology of dress by Umberto Eco, Renato Sigurtà and Marino Livolsi explored the evolution of men’s fashion and revealed its most profound mechanisms. While interviews with the famous designer Ettore Sottsass and directors Luca Ronconi and Andrea and Antonio Frazzi made TOP much more than a simple fashion magazine.
From the Tailors’ Congress in Vienna, which set the fashion trends way back in 1967, to shows in Rome and San Remo, TOP continues, 50 years on, to be a major source for understanding the changes that shaped fashions tastes in a decade rich in experimentation, challenges and transformation. Happy anniversary!