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Ermenegildo Zegna AW19 Campaign 'The Fight Makes A Man' 6
Courtesy of Zegna

Mahershala Ali questions masculinity in Zegna’s AW19 campaign

As conversation surrounding identity and gender gain pace, the Italian label asks: what does it mean to be a man today?

What is ‘masculinity’? It’s a question which luxury menswear brand Zegna are tackling head on by placing it at the front and centre of their AW19 campaign. 

Through a new series of films and photographs starring two-time Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali and artist Nicolas Tse, the Italian label intends to open up the conversation surrounding modern masculinity, while simultaneously probing its foundations and replacing staid ideals with a more fluid understanding of what it means to be a man in 2019. 

A quick history lesson: Zegna was founded back in 1910 by Italian entrepreneur and philanthropist Ermenegildo Zegna after he bought his father’s textile looms. Fast forward to the present day, and the brand – which is still owned by the family – is renowned for its contemporary take on menswear, with AW19 offering up embroidered jackets, knitted cardigans, soft roll-necks, and a luxurious take on the plain white tee. 

Across the campaign, brand spokesperson Ali is seen clothed in Zegna suits and a selection of more casual looks. In one film, he remembers a profound moment from his youth when a bathroom mirror prompted him to question his identity. “There’s a world to discover,” he states. “And I get to define that for myself. And that’s what I believe. What’s your truth?” 

Elsewhere, in a number of stills, Ali explores the different facets of masculinity; freedom, movement, playfulness, love, failure, and challenge, with each image accompanied by a handwritten quote. “I take the softness you breathe it to me,” announces one. “You are wisdom.”