On Sunday 12 November, the Zegna archives will be revealing their secrets: the precious samples put together by Ermenegildo Zegna, documenting over 100 years of innovation and style since 1910, will be shown to visitors. Ermenegildo Zegna’s story began over a century ago with the No. 1 Fabric and shaped the development of men’s fashion. It can be seen taking shape in his meticulous notes beside each material sample, containing recipes, drawings, secrets and solutions that took the fabrics along the paths of innovation.
After a first half-century in business, the fame of Ermenegildo Zegna’s quality fabrics had already spread across Europe and America. But he still had one dream to realize, to produce the world’s finest fabric, a dream that drove him to persevere in his research till finally achieving a pioneering result: the “Centoventimila” fabric. In 1961 he developed an extremely lightweight combed summer fabric named after the yarn’s tex value (1 kilo of yarn is 120,000 meters long).
The history of this fabric goes back well over 120 km, as far as Australia in fact, where Ermenegildo Zegna sourced the world’s best fibers. We’re on the eve of 1963, when the first Zegna Wool Trophy was set up to encourage famers to produce high quality fibers and thus ensure a top quality source of raw material for the wool mill. The fineness, length and elasticity of these fibers, worked on “this side of the ocean”, in a highly specialized process in the Trivero wool mill, enabled Count Zegna to produce a lightweight fabric weighing a mere 250 grams per meter, compared to the 350 g/m of other fabrics at the time. This “quality record” was highlighted in an advertising campaign addressing tailors and promoting this extraordinary “needle-ready” fabric which, thanks to a full decatizing process, no longer needed any wetting.
With over 2,500 sample books, the archives at Casa Zegna are an extraordinary source of inspiration for today’s designers, as in the case of this iconic fabric on which the Couture 2017/18 line is based. The open-day on 12 November will be not only a journey back in time but also a privileged viewing of what is still the point of departure, the spark that ignites creativity: a constant dialog between the fabrics of yesterday and the creations of today.
Guided tours (from 14.30 to 18. 30): booking obligatory, donations welcome
Casa Zegna, via Marconi, 23, 13835 Trivero (Biella)
tel. 015 7591463