Many years ago, the late, great, British singer George Michael sang, “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man” – contradicting an age-old adage which might, too, have served as a fashion industry maxim. As men – and women – around the globe grapple with the idea of what does, in fact, “make” a man, Italian menswear designer Ermenegildo Zegna is stepping into the fray by questioning the concept of masculinity itself with its new brand campaign, #WhatMakesAMan, which emphasises the inherent plurality of modern masculinity. As a menswear designer with 110 years of history, Ermenegildo Zegna has gone a long way to helping define the very masculinity it is currently challenging Joining multinationals from personal care brand Gillette to brewery Coors, Ermenegildo Zegna’s suggestion that the “steely and unambiguous, staid and static” notion of the masculine ideal is outdated in a fluid world is one that has been gaining traction in arts, politics, economics and society in general for a few years. Younger generations are unwilling to be told who they are. STYLE Edit: Ermenegildo Zegna fall/winter 2019 embraces sustainable luxe As the brand sees it, being a man now embraces: “Courtesy, politeness, patience, vulnerability, wisdom, eccentricity. What makes a man is the dignity and openness to accept and embrace the contradictions of life, to evolve day by day, being truthful to one’s self, endlessly changing one’s perspective and attitudes.” STYLE Edit: Why Ermenegildo Zegna’s show has rags among gorgeous artworks As a menswear designer with 110 years of history, Ermenegildo Zegna has gone a long way to helping define the very masculinity it is currently challenging. The goal of #WhatMakesAMan is to encourage discussion and debate, to ask why ideals are what they are and wonder where they came from. And as a cog in the machine that helps defines masculinity, the label has tapped Hong Kong musician and actor Nicholas Tse Ting-fung and two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali to be the unconventional faces of #WhatMakesAMan, tasked with helping redefine just that. Tse and Ali were chosen for their ability to telegraph gravitas, playfulness and positivity in the spare, graceful portraits that kick off the campaign. The photos, accompanied by notes written by Tse and Ali – about taking risks, about personal truth, about love – are designed to highlight traits that are admirable in a man in 2019, as well as the value in constant questioning and openness. STYLE Edit: Eddie Peng’s new role as Berluti gentleman The ultimate message, after all, is one of acceptance and, eventually, self-acceptance. And for the brand, Ali, long considered one of the most dignified A-listers in Hollywood, and Tse, born to stardom but never overwhelmed by it, are the ideal modern men to set new ideals of masculinity. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .