I couldn’t really say that I’m a fashionista, but there are certain occasions that call for a smart outfit, and so last weekend I was on the road in search of a place to buy a dark suit. Ermenegildo Zegna was what I wanted, and the place was The Place, a small mall just south of Biella, Piedmont. The low, modern structure is surrounded by thickets of bamboo, and the boutiques are arranged around a green courtyard. As well as Zegna, there are Gucci, Agnona, La Perla and Bellora, plus a bar, and lots of parking space.
I visited only Zegna because that was what I was after, and I found it, along with courtesy and skill in recommending the type of suit that would fit. I learnt about trousers with and without ‘pinces,’ the different types of cut for a jacket, shirt collars and cuffs, and came away with the outfit. It would have been easy to purchase loads more, because everything is so perfect, from textiles to colour and style. Beautiful pairs of dark green trousers in a velvety fabric were artfully hung next to a spectacular jacket in a glossy light green sheen that changed as the light caught it. Fantastic blazers. Beautiful ties, shoes, sunglasses. All items were discounted, and some even more, with large orange labels indicating one-off sample pieces.
I would say that Ermenegildo Zegna is a brand that does it right. Apart from style and all that, there is its social commitment, which translates into a green attitude that led to all that bamboo, plus a protected nature reserve up in the hills nearby. The ‘Oasi Zegna’ is 100 square kilometres of spectacular nature, where you can walk, mountain bike, paraglide and hang-glide. Zegna is also currently supporting a cancer clinic project to provide screening and rehabilitation services for the local population. In the leaflet that publicizes The Place, they provide information on two other interesting places to visit, the Candelo ‘ricetto‘ which is a fortified village, and the Santuario di Oropa, surrounded by another nature reserve. The ricetto was like taking a step back into the Middle Ages, and it has been used as a film set on many occasions. The Santuario will have to be for another visit, when I next return to The Place.
The Place, Via C. Battisti 99, Strada Trossi, Sandigliano, near Biella. Take the Carisio exit on the Milan-Turin motorway. Tel. +39 015 2496 199. Open every day 10.00-19.00.