Zegna and The Elder Statesman want you to fall in love with Cashmere
If “stealth wealth” is the unmissable buzzword of this season so far (mea culpa!), a new collaboration between Zegna and The Elder Statesman is here to add a dash of SoCal flavor to the burgeoning niche of delicate clothing made with noble yarns. With its psychedelic color palette and an echo of enlightened sustainability, you could call it something like — apologies in advance — “healthy wealth.”
On a cold Monday night in Paris, a steady stream of fashion week attendees flocked to a villa in Rue de L’Université to celebrate the collection, many years in the making, taking shape. by Zegna creative director Alessandro Sartori and The Elder Statesman founder Greg Chait. One attendee called it the “first great collaboration” they had seen in centuries, and nearly everyone else roamed. special hotel can’t help but put down their champagne coupes to touch and try on the patterned cashmere coats and plaid knit shirts that fill the space.
I found Sartori and Chait upstairs a few hours before the party, in a limoncello room filled with equally colorful clothes. Each guy drives a different sized ship. Zegna, based in Milan, has been around for 110 years and is essentially the Intel of fashion—through its vertically integrated fabric business, Zegna’s yarns can be found in clothing. within the industry as well as within the company itself. The Elder Statesman, which Chait founded in LA in 2007, is a Chrome heart-backing slinger of sunny, handmade sweaters. But when Sartori and Chait met two and a half years ago, they were immediately connected by a common obsession: cashmere.
Since Zegna’s in-house collaboration with Fear of God kicked off a revival of ’80s tailoring in menswear, Sartori has worked less with other brands. But he and Chait found that they spoke the same language. “There were a lot of bookworms. This is an extremely silly situation,” said Chait, wearing a dusty purple velvet suit from the collection. “Very good,” added Sartori, who was wearing a lemon cashmere shirt. Sartori has long devoted herself to pushing cashmere beyond turtlenecks: 70% of Zegna’s Fall-Winter 2023 runway collection shown earlier this year was made of cashmere, a material especially suited to Matched with casual wear with unconventional seams and generous cuts he made a priority at the family-run company.
Cashmere is also in The Elder Statesman’s chic DNA, where it builds everything from colorful tie-knit sweaters to super soft plushies. Lots of know-how goes into every surf knit. “Fiber is perhaps the most unsung hero in our entire industry. I think almost 70% of the most important developments are actually at the fiber level,” says Chait.
The collaboration, slated for a September release, combines the shapes of Sartori—“we started with a non-generational, genderless, oversized mindset,” he says—with a vibe. Chic hippie by The Elder Statesman. Louche shawls, woven with thick layers of cashmere, tailor-made for the Palazzo Parigi terrace, are hand-knit. And a pale yellow plaid knitwear—oversized short-sleeved shirt, basketball shorts—is a strong argument that all felts should be high in cashmere.
Sartori and Chait don’t take cashmere too seriously just for the sake of it. One of the many impressive qualities of yarn is the fact that it can be easily recycled. “In addition to the exclusive cashmere material, exclusive yarn, exclusive construction,” says Sartori, “you can easily recreate [these pieces] Tomorrow.” Of course, there’s a good chance that one day the wearers will pass them on to their children—fashion circles of a different kind. their tension points are reinforced by hand-crafted construction. enough and what happens after that,” said Sartori.