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Zegna taps notable mother-son duo to explore masculinity

February 22, 2021

Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis stars in a new short film for Zegna's #WhatMakesAMan campaign. Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna.


Italian menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna is continuing its #WhatMakesAMan campaign for its spring 2021 effort, turning to famous mother-and-son duo, actress Isabelle Adjani and model/singer Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis.

The Italian fashion label is hoping to include a new female perspective in #WhatMakesAMan, a campaign that explores and embraces one’s own unique masculinity. This is the latest installment in the series, which previously featured Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali and artist Nicholas Tse.

"I feel that brands are looking to diversify whether it’s incorporating nationalities, gender, race and other demographics,"said Kimmie Smith, cofounder and creative director of Athleisure Mag, New York. "I find this to be an effective campaign as you’re able to hear from Mr. Day-Lewis's mom as she talks about her son and the depth of his personality and how he perceives life.

"It’s essential to showcase an array of viewpoints, lifestyles etc. so that their customers are able to see versions of themselves and not something that is portrayed by a societal standard that doesn’t reflect how people live today," she said. "These ideas and concepts allows them to share an array of paths that one can take and to support the ability to explore what it is to own your space and to operate in it."

What makes a man
With the #WhatMakesAMan campaign, Zegna continues to invite consumers to be a part of a cultural conversation. The label is examining masculinity with a wide scope, illustrating how the entity is uniquely experienced and how it overlaps with fashion.

Consumers can view the short film examining Mr. Day-Lewis‘s individual masculine nature, analyzed and shot by his mother, Ms. Adjani.

The film is shot in Oasi Zegna, an area referred to as the birthplace of the Zegna brand in Piedmont, Italy. The setting is idyllic and natural with its backdrop that resembles a field and park.

The 30-second film consists of various shots including Ms. Adjani filming her son with a large camera, closeups of Mr. Day-Lewis smiling and laughing with his mother, the duo sitting on a bench and Mr. Day-Lewis walking in various directions.

Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis stars in the latest installment of the campaign with his mother Isabelle Yasmina Adjani, adding a female perspective. Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna.

The artful shots are spliced to a voiceover of Ms. Adjani describing her son’s playful, yet wise, nature.

“Sometimes my son sounds like he has an old soul,” said Ms. Adjani in the video. ”Behind the boy that’s just sometimes rebellious and really stubborn, there’s so much wisdom and beautiful philosophy about love and kindness and generosity.

“And that’s a beautiful thing.”

The campaign features Mr. Day-Lewis modeling suits, leisurewear, and eyewear from the brand.

Mr. Day-Lewis models several different looks. Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna

Mr. Day-Lewis wears custom-fitted looks that allow the singer to express his own creativity and unique spirt. Zegna adds that every consumer can personalize its products to fit their own creativity, spirit and take on masculinity.

People-first fashion
Zegna is one of many brands striving for more intimate campaigns in the hopes of connecting with audiences. Using public figures, brands highlight how products can help consumers continue to express their personhood and individuality.

Last year, online luxury retailer Net-A-Porter celebrated fall fashion with an intimate campaign featuring the fresh perspective of women around the globe. In “My Style, My City,” Net-A-Porter followed six women from around the world as they shared their city and personal style philosophies (see story).

Italian fashion label Valentino is presenting its “Inspired By” project, an effort dedicated to visionary leaders who embody the values of the brand. “Inspired by REDValentino” is dedicated to the free and independent individuals who challenge life and create new meanings and perspectives (see story).

“Brands take risks when they challenge clients’ beliefs,” said Christopher Ramey, president of The Home Trust International, Palm Beach. “Reminding a prospect that it’s their mother’s love that 'makes them a man’ is a powerful message.”