A Suitable Poster Boy
Irish Times Magazine, 30 August 2003
It might sound unbelievable, but Eoin Lyons reckons that Kenneth Branagh publicises Zegna menswear because he really enjoys the clothes.
Kenneth Branagh gives a suspiciously PR-perfect description of Zegna menswear: "They're discreet but elegant, lasting clothes with beautiful fabrics. They're men's clothes, but have a touch of the dandy sometimes in things like their jacket linings and ties." It's almost too neat a description.
Surely there's a big paycheque for Branagh to help focus his mind on the wonders of Italian menswear? It turns out there isn't. "I've no big arrangement with Zegna," he says, "they're not paying me huge amounts of money to wear their clothes."
Maybe just as well. Branagh is no Orlando Bloom, or pretty-boy actor who might have shown the clothes in a better light. However, there is at least an honesty in choosing Branagh as model, as his everyman looks give us some indication as to how they might look on the rest of us.
"I first heard of Zegna years ago when they did the clothes for a Robert Altman film I acted in called The Gingerbread Man," he says after this shoot in a slightly grotty, but still very grand, London house. He's been wearing bits and pieces ever since but judging by his choices here, tends to go for the darker colors and Zegna's speciality: non-fashiony suits. The more expensive of these can be ordered with the aforementioned coloured silk linings. Off-the-peg suits are 750 to 1200 euros. Bespoke are 900 to 3000 euros.
What Branagh gets out of this, we're guessing, is his own choice from their casual "Soft" line and more expensive "Sartorial" suits, a payment most men wouldn't mind at all. He really likes them, though you might not guess it by his expression here.