The Rake

THE LINE OF BEAUTY

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“It wasn’t scary but it was challenging. That was the moment when I got a first real connection to the business.”

Wandering around Trivero’s Casa Zegna, it’s easy to imagine a moment when — between a kickabout on the lawn, or climbing one of the trees on this vast estate — Gildo Zegna realised that, whatever his predilections, he was destined to enter the family firm. After all, this was the one his grandfather had established in 1910, first as a textiles mill (in a way common to Italian industrialists of the period, the giant factory is set next to the family home) and, half a century ago this year, as a brand of ready-to-wear menswear.

His sister Anna would later be called away from her life of hard partying and high fashion as the head of P.R. for Gianni Versace. But Gildo, more formally known as Ermenegildo Zegna, after his grandfather, was struck by the fact that he was part of a dynasty only after he started working for it.

“I got an assignment in the U.S., leading distribution there, and it really wasn’t until I got that job that I suddenly realised that now I had to do my best [for the company],

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