There’s always room for self-reflection, but sometimes, to understand who we really are and grow as people, it’s important to listen to those who matter and know us best. That seems to be the idea behind the latest evolution of Ermegildo Zegna’s #WHATMAKESAMAN campaign for Spring/Summer 2021, which takes a tender look at masculinity through the intimate and personal lenses of those closest to an individual.

Starring model, singer and songwriter Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis and his mother, five-time Cesar award-winning actress Isabelle Adjani, the new campaign sees the latter contemplating the qualities that make her son the man he is today. (And yes, in case you were wondering, his father is three-time Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.)


Seen through the eyes of a mother and a woman, what makes a man is not his external accomplishments — that widely held, traditional measure of a man’s worth. Instead of her son’s impressive modelling portfolio – which includes numerous campaigns for top fashion brands such as, of course, Zegna, and many magazine covers – or his budding music career, what matters most to Adjani are the 25-year-old’s inner, softer qualities.

In one of the videos accompanying the campaign, Adjani muses of Day-Lewis, “Behind the boy that’s sometimes rebellious and really stubborn, there is so much wisdom and beautiful philosophy about love and kindness and generosity.” Together, they reflect on the lessons and values that have shaped him as an individual.

To be unveiled at a later date, the second part of the new campaign features an unexpected pairing: Popular Chinese actor Li Xian appears alongside Noonoouri, a virtual character who has been a hit in the fashion world with her focus on sustainability. Both reflect on the values they stand for, in the process demonstrating that the concept of masculinity is fluid and ever-changing.

The lush setting of the campaign, Oasi Zegna, in itself tells a story of Zegna’s nurturing approach to nature. In the 1930s, way before “sustainability” was a business buzzword, founder Ermenegildo Zegna launched a reforestation programme in the Biella Alps in Piemonte, Northern Italy, which saw more than half a million conifer trees planted over the years. Today, it remains the heart of Zegna’s commitment to the environment.

Oasi Zegna 2021
Oasi Zegna

This impressive free-access nature park, stretching 100 sq km from Trivero to the Biella Alps, is not just the perfect setting to showcase the earthy palette and relaxed forms of its Spring/Summer 2021 collection, which features the continuing use of upcycled or reworked #UseTheExisting fabrics. As the brand’s latest beautifully shot images show, it is also the ideal spot for pondering our priorities and the values that make us, us.

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