Magazine article The New Yorker

FAMILY BUSINESS; THREADS Series: 5/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

FAMILY BUSINESS; THREADS Series: 5/5

Article excerpt

The entire Ermenegildo Zegna clan flew in from Italy's Piedmont region the other evening to celebrate the opening of their new clothing store on Fifth Avenue. Three generations of Zegnas--including the eighty-year-old president, Angelo; his forty-nine-year-old son, Ermenegildo, who is the co-C.E.O.; his daughters Anna, forty-five, and Benedetta, thirty-seven; plus four teen-age grandchildren--were on hand, all dressed to the teeth.

Edoardo Zegna, eighteen, who has shoulder-length dark hair and who was wearing a nifty dark-blue cashmere blazer (40 long), watched the goingson from a perch on a staircase, in front of a large sepia-toned photograph of the Zegna mill in Trivero (population 7,000). The actor Adrien Brody, with a Bellini, and the former Senator Bill Bradley, with a 7UP, came over to say hello. Edoardo smiled and pointed at the photograph of the plant.

"I go here many times to learn the stages," he said earnestly, in Swiss-schooled English. "Filatura--how do you say it?--the spinning; orditura, the warping; tessitura, the weaving; tintoria, the dyeing; finissaggio, the finishing. All our stages."

He was jostled politely on the stairway by some massive football players, who were also elegantly suited up: Tom Brady (Patriots), Peyton Manning (Colts), Dan Marino (Dolphins), and Tiki Barber (Giants). Edoardo took a deep breath and continued. "Our water in Trivero is important; it makes the softness when we wash the wool," he said. "We have the best water, from the Sesia River, in our mountains."

Edoardo's kid brother, Angelo (38 regular), squeezed in beside him. "Edoardo, tomorrow we go to the Knicks," he said.

"We talk now about the lanificio," Edoardo said, nudging Angelo with an elbow to focus attention on the picture of the plant. Benedetta Zegna, the company's director of events and personnel training, came over to join the boys. She was dressed in all-white cashmere. "We're a vertical company," she said. "We own everything ourselves; we go to China or Kashmir for the raw material, and we control everything, until it is ready for made-to-measure in the stores. No one is bigger than the brand."

One of the happiest guests was Seth Abraham, the former president of Madison Square Garden. …

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