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Zegna hosts centennial birthday party in support of Oceana

September 15, 2010 | 10:07 am

103883905MU003_Ermenegildo_ Venerated Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna celebrated its centennial birthday with actors and environmentalists Ted Danson and Ed Begley Jr. at its Rodeo Drive store Tuesday night.

The evening benefited the oceans advocacy organization Oceana, with 10% of sales from the Beverly Hills store during Sept. 12-18 donated to the nonprofit.

"Zegna has always had an eye for sustainability," said Begley, who jokingly referred to himself as "the poor man's Ted Danson" in an impromptu speech. "They have been good stewards of the land and also never wanted to poison the Earth with harmful dyes."

In fact, Ermenegildo Zegna planted 500,000 trees in his day, near Trivero, Italy, where the brand was founded.

Though long gone, the founder's visage was omnipresent at the event through historical photographs mounted throughout the boutique. The images were a part of the brand's formal centennial celebration, which took place in June in Milan (read about all things Zegna in Adam Tschorn's recent article on the brand).

The sepia-hued photos — along with some amazingly chic mid-century ads for the brand — also appear in a new coffee table book,"Ermenegildo Zegna: An Enduring Passion for Fabrics, Innovation, Quality and Style," chronicling the history of the man and the brand.

103883905MU002_Ermenegildo_ Ermenegildo's granddaughter, brand image director Anna Zegna, summed up the company's credo: "Quality, for us, is not only the product but the relationship with our customers and our environment."

Danson, who looked elegant in a black Zegna suit and heavy-framed glasses, noted that events matching  charities with brands are often "far-fetched," adding, "but Zegna has supported ... cleaning up the ocean for over 15 years."

During a speech, the actor encouraged guests to support Zegna, remarking with a glint in his eye, "It's very important to be well-dressed — we don't want to look like shabby environmentalists."

--Emili Vesilind

Photos, from top: Anna Zegna and Ted Danson; Ed Begley Jr. Credit: Lester Cohen / Getty Images.