January 10, 2017

Visiting Fashion House Ermenegildo Zegna Trivero Italy

By In Photographs
Now I am not one for high fashion; in fact the closest I’ve come to anything remotely ‘designer’ recently is picking up a six-pack of branded socks from Next. So when everyone else seemed terribly excited to visit Ermenegildo Zegna I was rather nonplussed. But along I went, up into the fog smothered forested mountains to the north-east of Biella (being a rather smart town in Piemonte, Italy) for a special visit to the factory in Trivero.

Visiting a fashion house maybe a whole world away from wine and food. But every bit as fascinating. But as with many of the more prestigious wine houses Ermenegildo Zegna encompasses more than fabric and fashion. There are environmental projects, a renown archive and various contemporary art projects.

Many a time I’ve watched a LoveFilm rental only to realise half way through that I’ve seen the film before. The same with Ermenegildo Zegna. Of course I’ve bloody heard of them! Look at those adverts… how could you forget.

The museum is small, dedicated to the family, the history, the multiple awards and the refinement of the wool through the years. Certain breeds of sheep from Australia were bred for the highest quality wool for example. No different from perfecting a specific grape variety for wine really. Here in one corner bales of different wools so you can actually feel the difference. One room holding swathes of fabric and a pattern with measurements for a suit made for Prince Charles. Here a range of adverts and historic bits and bobs…

“Casa Zegna, part of Fondazione Zegna, is a historical archive and cultural centre in Trivero, in the province of Biella. Inside the Zegna Wool Mill, in a 1930s building that was once the family’s home, a new “archive-museum” concept has been developed. An extraordinary synthesis of history and experience, but at the same time a multi-purpose space that’s always active, a crucible of new ideas where tradition merges with transformation.”

Even the stairwell holds an exhibit – a stack of twisting wool grates; twisting as a thread of wool is. And upstairs decades of history in the price-less and unique sample books. These go back from the very beginnings of Zegna, records of the thread size and pattern used for hundreds upon hundreds of different fabrics. So valuable they are handled with gloved hands. As our guide explained while the earliest patterns cant be totally recreated, the quality of the wool is radically different now, the designs are used for inspiration in new designs. Including some 1970’s patterns replicated on a series of wall mounted plates in the entrance lobby. This is the Zegna Archive.

Visiting Fashion House Ermenegildo Zegna Trivero Italy

But Ermenegildo Zegna is not solely about wool and the latest fashion trends. The mass of trees covering the sourrounding mountains were one of the first environmental projects that the fashion house was involved with.

“The relationship between Zegna and Biella’s mountain territory and the environment in general, which is based on the “green thought” of Ermenegildo Zegna and the development and conservation projects he sustained” Archivio Zegna

Visits to the archive and museum I believe have to be booked in advance. The website gives opening times and details of special exhibitions.

Visiting Fashion House Ermenegildo Zegna Trivero Italy
Via Marconi 23 13835 Trivero (BI)
Codice Fiscale 92011650022

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