Bottega Veneta: bigger, brighter and better
A welcome return to form at Bottega Veneta, with a swish, stylish collection presented with panache in a brand new setting for the brand.
Fusing architectural ideas and a rich marble color palette, the clothes were sleek and highly commercial. A color scheme inspired by a grand Palladian villa, Kedleston Hall, led to marbleized roses, golden yellows and washed out violets.
“It’s about color. That’s where I always start,” said the house’s creative director Tomas Maier after the show held in the marvelous Palazzo Archinto, a giant mid-19th century residence with massive frescoes.
Aesthetically this show was all about change at Bottega Veneta. Half the outfits were riddled with grommets and eyelets or showered with crystal baubles. Instead of the discreet elegance for which this brand was famous, we witnessed uber ostentation. Moreover, there was a clear dichotomy between the type of man and woman who might wear these clothes. While the woman was self-asserted and evidently very rich; like model Emily Ratajkowski in a suede dress bursting with strings and tiny crystals. However, the man was quite eccentric, self-indulgent even, in sloppy bowling jackets, velvet blousons and multi-color satin pants. Adding to the air of eccentricity, the final male model got lost in the maze of rooms and ended up walking confusedly through the main salon twice.
Quite why the designer inflicted a loud hip-hop soundtrack on editors at 9.30 in the morning, after many had attended a massive Vogue Italia celebration the night before was also a mystery. All that said, this was a very fine collection of sophisticated clothes in dazzling colors made with obvious attention and skill.
Thanks to the subtle design philosophy of Maier, and his famous motto "When Your Initials are Enough," Bottega Veneta was the fastest growing luxury brand on the planet in the first decade of this century. However, sales began to plateau dramatically in the past couple of years, leading to the arrival of new CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs in October 2016.
Under Lahrs’ leadership, BV seems very much on the move. “Why had we problems? I think we lagged behind in digital. We were too discreet, too self-effacing. That doesn’t work so well in social media; nor to communicate to a new generation of consumers,” Lahrs told FashionNetwork.com.
One result, around a dozen of the bags in the collection featured initials prominently embossed or embroidered into the house’s signature Intrecciato – or woven leather. Like many brands, Bottega is not rapidly opening stores – but instead revamping its flagships into fully-fledged mansions. Suddenly, the atmosphere seems brighter, just like the color palette of this collection.
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