Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna
McCaul Lombardi and Robert De Niro are both Italian-Americans
Robert De Niro and McCaul Lombardi star in Alessandro Sartori's first spring-summer 2017 campaign for Zegna since his return
These two actors met in Los Angeles towards the end of 2016
The interview short was directed by Francesco Carrozzini

Robert De Niro. A living legend in Hollywood circles and a specialist of those raging mad roles – think Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets – he doesn’t really partake in endorsements. That’s because he doesn’t need to, really – he is an A-lister’s A-lister such as Nicholson, Beatty, and Pacino. In fact, the last time he threw his name behind a larger-than-life kind of cause was when he launched a campaign this month with the World Mercury Project against the use of mercury in vaccines, though who can forget last year when he sided with then-Presidential nom Hillary Clinton and stated how he wants to punch Donald Trump in the face (yes, there’s a commercial for that too). The co-owner of Nobu restaurants and part-time hotelier, however, has loosened his stance on endorsements in recent years with the most prominent being a Rat Pack-esque commercial for Macau’s Studio City alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. (Of course, he also has a bunch of obscure Lost in Translation-type of ads that will never see the light of day outside of Japan.) But we digress. The point is, enlisting the 73-year-old to front your wares is as hard of a task as getting him to star in your movie. We reiterate; he doesn’t need the money. And for any fashion label, big or small, that hasn’t happened until now. The veteran actor was recently unveiled as the face of Ermenegildo Zegna’s spring-summer 2017 campaign, entitled Defining Moments. One of the finest Italian tailoring labels in the world seems like a perfect fit for De Niro, who was granted Italian citizenship just over a decade ago and whose father was half-Italian. This fashion campaign, however, isn’t one of those standard portraitures either. There’s an element of Inside the Actor’s Studio to it, in this case, De Niro mentoring (or depends on how you view it, being interviewed by) young actor and fellow Italian-American McCaul Lombardi of American Honey fame. The idea behind this spring 2017 campaign – the second campaign with artistic director Alessandro Sartori at the helm since rejoining the brand last June – is about a no holds barred dialogue between the stars, the filmmaker (Francesco Carrozzini) and the designer. The two actors chose their own clothes from the Zegna rack which appears in the shoot as well as on their short road trip around Los Angeles (as seen in the film), and the flow of their conversation was dictated by them, which means what we see is as organic as it gets. De Niro is seen talking to an attentive Lombardi about his mentors, his life philosophies as well as the iconic roles he has played. What does this campaign mean for the rest of us, though? We can’t steal his swag, but at least we know where to look or die tryin’.



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