Wiz Khalifa, James Marsden Celebrate New Ermenegildo Zegna Collection

Courtesy of Billy Farrell/BFA.com
Wiz Khalifa

Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied, Miles Teller, Garrett Hedlund and others stepped out for the star-studded launch party in Beverly Hills.

A starry crowd turned out at the Sheats Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills Tuesday night to fete the unveiling of a new Ermenegildo Zegna Couture XXX Collection, designed by Zegna artistic director Alessandro Sartori. The line was introduced at the party in an L.A. Dance Project performance choreographed by Benjamin Millepied in which dancers donned six pieces (two T-shirts, three sweatshirts and a jogger pant with an understated riff on the XXX motif) available exclusively in the Los Angeles and New York Zegna boutiques and online. Millepied's wife, Natalie Portman, arrived with him; also on hand were actors Miles Teller, James Marsden, Finn Wittrock, Rodrigo Santoro and Garrett Hedlund, writer-director Doug Ellin, L.A. Clippers player Blake Griffin, Lucky Blue Smith, Wiz Khalifa, celeb stylists Ilaria Urbinati and Warren Baker, and retired L.A. Galaxy player Robbie Rogers.

Come Feb. 8, an expanded 15-piece Ermenegildo Zegna Couture XXX Collection ($135 to $2,295) including denim, outerwear, caps and sneakers will roll out worldwide and then continue seasonally as an extension of the Ermenegildo Zegna Couture collection presented during fashion week in Milan, according to Sartori. Everything is handcrafted of natural and eco-friendly materials such as mohair, silk, cotton and recycled polyester.

"I feel particularly close to L.A., where I've come for 20 years to vacation for at least a week a year or more, if I can," Sartori said in an exclusive chat with THR. "I feel good in the vibe, and the light in the sky is particularly unique. I like the energy, I like the people, I like the cool feel of what I see in the streets. (I feel particularly attracted to Silver Lake as a residential area and Malibu as a resort spot.) And so there wasn't a better place, also because of the connection with Ben and launching the collection here with his crew of global dancers. XXX Collection is for young people and a different type of vision. It’s about movement, creativity, art, freedom; it’s about a new way to invent garments that are handmade, yet super modern and comfortable with special knitted construction."

"Of course, today it is very important to design for tomorrow, to design for the new needs that our clients have, but it’s this junction between a very grounded family company like Zegna and the beautiful craft of the thousands of artisans working behind me with the modernity that is really something special," Sartori said. "People are mixing and matching more, styling more, blending tailoring and sportswear more — using different shapes of pants like joggers, or sweatshirts and T-shirts instead of shirts, or special outerwear instead of classic jackets and so on — and that’s a new vision I particularly like."

Clad in mohair jogger pants and a brocade bomber from another Zegna collection, Marsden nodded to Urbinati, his stylist: "If I wore Zegna before Ilaria, it was accidental; she really steered me in their direction. I would put on jackets off the rack and they would fit perfectly. It always suited my style: A good blend of classic shapes with modern textures.  It just feels right. I’m normally in a suit, but tonight Ilaria showed me some of these new cool, sort of casual Couture pieces."

Asked whether he counts any favorite red carpet moment in Zegna, Marsden immediately said, "The 2015 Met Ball. It was a white jacket and black pants from Zegna and it was pretty great."

"I love Alessandro; I think he’s really elevated the brand and he’s so chic as a human being, too," added Urbinati. "He’s just a very elegant person and I think the collections totally reflect that. He’s making Zegna a little more fashion-forward, but still really cool and wearable. The new suiting has a lot of texture, a lot of black-on black, and Alessandro’s using plum a lot, which I so enjoy. You’re going to see Zegna on my awards season guys for sure!"

"I have a relationship with Zegna that goes back six years to when they designed the clothes for my character (a very successful lawyer) in the Brazilian film My Country," said Santoro, donning a Zegna look similar to his fellow Westworld star, save for a snap-front jacket with a leather collar and quilted leather sleeves. "Zegna fits me very well. I’m tall and sometimes the cut is just slimmer and it works well for me. I like the more laid-back look of these pieces, and the choreographed performance was a very beautiful, interesting and artsy way to show the clothes."

Stepping away from a lengthy conversation with Sartori, Teller said:  "I’ve worn Zegna for many years now; I think it’s been a mutually supportive relationship, as they seem more than willing to dress me for events and I always feel good. I’ve worn them a few times this year for press tours. In the last couple years, I’ve gotten more into fashion, so it’s something I appreciate more. I love to kind of break up what is considered appropriate for men to wear for a cocktail party or a high-profile event; if it’s Zegna, it looks great. I’m not as much into skinny jeans or pants that are tight and fitted. Alessandro was telling me about the fabrics; there’s structure but it’s also meant for movement. I remember the first time I wore a Zegna suit; I got fitted and said, ‘Oh, this is a very nice suit!’ Someone said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s Zegna.’ I feel like the name carries a lot of weight."

"My first Zegna suit was a gift to me, I think it was in 2009," said Griffin, noting that made-to-measure was the only way to go with his 6’ 10” frame. "Ever since that experience, I’ve always come back periodically over the years. I’ve been able to do a couple charity events with Zegna and now they’re kind of part of the family. They did an ESPY suit for me that I really, really liked. I have more Zegna suits than any other suit in my closet. The fit is just my favorite. It’s all about being comfortable in what you’re wearing and, for me, that’s what I’m most comfortable in."

Rogers, who announced his retirement from pro soccer last month, may have had the best answer of the night as to a defining Zegna moment: "I've worked with Zegna for the past few years, but the most recent thing was my wedding last weekend. Zegna dressed me in a tux (white jacket and black trousers) that was so beautiful and the fabric was so amazing. They dressed both Greg [Berlanti] and I. When I was doing my fittings and going through the Zegna store in Beverly Hills, I really loved seeing their creative direction and where they’re going now. It feels fashion and sporty, which is obviously something I like, so it just felt very comfortable."

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