A FASHIONABLE DRIVE

Two of Italy’s best in menswear and automotive – Ermenegildo Zegna and Maserati – team up for excellence.

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There’s no denying the illustrious nature of a Maserati. Founded in 1914 by two Italian brothers of the Maserati family, the automotive brand has, for over a century, been regarded with high performance and exclusive craftsmanship, becoming the first to put a race engine in a four-door body. To the company, innovation is key to its every development, including its signature Ghibli car. First launched in 1967 as a two-door, two-seater grand tourer with a V8 engine, the Maserati Ghibli has evolved over the decades, forgoing its original square-edged shape for something a distinctive and curvaceous exterior and expanding to additionally comprise sedan models.

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I had the pleasure of driving the most modern iteration of the Ghibli recently, and while it certainly boasted a host of technical capabilities alludes my limited automotive knowledge – although it should be noted that it can go from 0-100km in five seconds flat and yet is environmentally friendly in comparison to many in its category, which was pleasing to this sustainably-minded lead-foot – I was reviewing it instead for its newly decked-out interior by none other than Italian luxury menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna.

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Car brands have been known to collaborate with fashion houses (on a local level, Carla Zampatti’s designs for Ford some decades ago comes to mind), but it’s rare to see such a perfectly aligned partnership as that between Maserati and Zegna, given their premium market status and Italian origins. The fruits of this project are many, given that for an automotive brand to collaborate with a fashion house brings a new kind of creative fecundity to the product that is different from that typically found in car design. It pleases the sense in ways unexpected for a car, and on our heavily regulated roads, that’s a luxury.

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Originally launched as part of Maserati’s centennial in 2014, Zegna’s interiors for the Ghibli comprise woven silk seats, door panels, sunshades and rooftop, all crafted with a durability specifically for everyday use, alongside Poltrona Frau leather seats. By collaborating with a fashion house, Maserati has reinvented its brand for its existing clientele and simultaneously made it newly relevant in a contemporary commercial context. In what amounts to a calculated risk, Maserati has thwarted its own status quo and reasserts itself as the original tastemaker, thus assuming a position of cultural sophistication.

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For its own part, Ermenegildo Zegna is extending the automotive experience to its own stores – not by the basic display of a vehicle, but instead the launch of a new capsule collection comprising leathergoods, clothing and accessories designed to reflect the craftsmanship and elegance synonymous with both Italian brands (pictured above). Like the Maserati’s interior fittings, the capsule collection features pieces crafted from premium leather, fine silk and cotton, all finished with the ‘Ermenegildo Zegna Exclusively for Maserati’ insignia. Included are a leather backpack, denim jeans, cotton jersey polo shorts and silk scarves, all designed with the global-roaming traveller in mind.