If you follow Jerry Lorenzo on Instagram, you might have noticed a slight shift in his outfits as of late.
It’s not a huge departure for the Fear of God founder, who’s known for wearing—and designing—sweatpants, T-shirts, and hoodies that come in very specific, and desirable, shapes. But all of a sudden he was adding more tailored items into the mix like a camel overcoat or a leather blazer that made his looks feel even more refined—because of this, we named him best dressed of Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
It turns out, Lorenzo, like many of his peers, is growing up and wanting to produce and wear more tailored pieces, which is why he decided to collaborate with luxury Italian suiting conglomerate Zegna and its artistic director Alessandro Sartori on a menswear collection that debuted in Paris last night and will be available to purchase in September.
“I'm getting older and moving more into this dad zone in my life and I really needed a whole new wardrobe,” says Lorenzo on the phone from Paris the Sunday before the presentation. “Whether that's going to a parent teacher meeting and wearing a blazer and sweats, or if one of my friends is getting married. What does that suit look like that is as comfortable as a sweatsuit, but that speaks to the elegance of having a suit on? I selfishly took this opportunity to solve those solutions.”
For Sartori, who has worked in tailoring for many years—he designed at Z Zegna, Zegna’s younger, more affordable line, and Berluti before coming back to Zegna as artistic director in 2016—he always viewed Lorenzo’s work as luxury—while on the phone he hesitated before labeling it sportswear—and working with him was a chance for him to think outside of the structures Zegna usually works. Lorenzo doesn’t follow the fashion calendar and releases collections as they are ready as opposed to when they are required.
“In Europe we work with a big machine, and it’s a very nice machine to have because of seasonality, because of the pre-collection, and the main collection, but Jerry proved that other formats and calendars are working. It’s an honest approach.”
They started to meet about a year and a half ago to see if they liked each other, and then ventured into designing a collection together, a first for both designers. They both sound calm and happy on the phone, but an Instagram post from Lorenzo gave everyone a glimpse of how arduous the process was.
"For the last six months, I’ve been one heartbeat away from a depression breakdown, losing control, losing faith, or a serious anxiety attack that could potentially put me out," he posted. He continued, "Working to get a luxury house and an agency to trust what we bring to the table...And to believe in our perspective and nuanced understanding of the market. And to see us beyond this fleeting hype stigma that surrounds our industry."
However, he persisted and produced a collection that merges Fear of God’s elevated sportswear with Zegna’s sophisticated tailoring nicely. Coats are oversized with semi-broad shoulders reminiscent of menswear from the ‘80s. Blazers and collarless jackets drape over the body instead of hug it. Many of the looks are styled with mock turtlenecks, which Lorenzo says are his answer to a collared shirt and a tie, and cumberbunds, which were paired with unexpected items like denim. Sartori’s favorite pieces are the black leather jacket with Zegna embossed on the back in Fear of God’s font, and the earthy colored leather shirt jacket. They kept logo placement subtle and simple, placing the Ermenegildo Zegna logo over Fear of God. The denim was the only thing manufactured in Los Angeles. Lorenzo says it made sense for him to bring what Fear of God does best to the table. Hoodies and sweatpants came in a cashmere blend. Lorenzo says for footwear, he looked to Zegna’s classic shoes like a boat sneaker and a chelsea boot and put them through a FOG filter. They worked with upper foot lasts Lorenzo’s previously developed and merged those with Zegna’s bottoms. While the collection is menswear, Lorenzo and Satori are hoping women will wear it, too—a few women were featured in the look book.
“By no means are we saying this is unisex. But by all means I would just say that everyone can wear it,” says Lorenzo. “I think when you start to kind of land in between, the pieces lose their life and they lose their point of view.”
Sartori says the collection speaks to the Fear of God customer who is looking for tailored pieces, and the Zegna customer who is seeking more relaxed yet refined sportswear, and an entirely new customer that isn’t currently being served.
“We see a new opportunity in the market because most of the tailored brands aren’t working this way. We are working with a new grammar,” says Sartori.
Lorenzo and Sartori couldn’t confirm whether or not this partnership would go beyond this collection, but for those wondering, Lorenzo says he worked with Zegna to provide a solution to the market, not because he wants to position himself as the next designer of a larger, luxury house.
“No, I’m not really looking for that type of an opportunity post this,” says Lorenzo. “Looking at what we've built with Fear of God, it’s far from over and I want to continue to build on that. As I'm getting older, I'm wanting to spend more and more time at home and I think I have enough on my plate with what we're doing. So I think I want to focus on what God has given me, to be a good steward of that and not look beyond that.”