New Creative Director Daniel Lee’s runway debut for FW19 ups the volume (and the ante) at Bottega Veneta.
Under glorious sunshine at Milan’s Piazza Sempione, Bottega Veneta’s much-anticipated FW19 collection was unveiled – and it has much to say about being modern. While the quiet luxury and craftsmanship of the 53-year-old Italian fashion house remain at its core, reinvention is the new order.
Shapes are bold and sculptural; feminine layers paired with armour-like outerwear; and the house’s signature intrecciato leather latticework is taken to whole new proportions.
Bare decolletage is celebrated with square necklines reminiscent of Italian Renaissance paintings; black leather trousers and coats are effortless and daringly curvaceous; and the squareness of the weave pattern is echoed throughout the collection in blocky lines and details.
The season’s palette features chemical hues and shimmering embellishment, offset by natural tones, everyday colour and rich burgundy and black.
This is Daniel Lee’s fresh new perspective on Bottega Veneta’s understated aesthetic: turning up the volume and bringing modernity to traditional technique.
Having taken up the role of Creative Director at the Vincenzan fashion house in July 2018, Lee offers a challenging new viewpoint on the house’s Italian origins, seen through today’s global lens – highlighting the tension between the conspicuous and the refined, high and low, hedonism and intellect.
At just 32, Lee brings with him an impressive pedigree of experience at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, and most notably, being Phoebe Philo’s right hand man as Director of Ready-to-Wear at Celine.
Lee cuts an enigmatic figure in the industry – not much is known about him as he’s largely absent from social media. His reputation as a brilliant behind-the-scenes designer precedes him, but with his stunning debut at Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee is ready to emerge from the wings.
Taking over the reins from Tomas Maier, who helmed the brand for 17 years and transformed the “stealth wealth” label into a global business, Lee has big shoes to fill.
“I’m both honored and excited to continue the legacy that has been created at Bottega Veneta over the last five decades,” says Lee. “Maintaining the ingrained codes of the House, craftsmanship, quality and sophistication, I look forward to evolving what has gone before, while contributing a new perspective and modernity.”
A Brave New World
The heritage of crafting prestige leather goods goes back a long way in Bottega Veneta, and the house is well-known for its highly coveted luxury bags and range of exquisite accessories.
With Lee’s experience designing beautiful clothes “for people to live in and enjoy”, he is also looking forward to developing a new big culture around the label’s ready-to-wear, shoes and jewellery – which he says has never been fully exploited.
If Bottega Veneta’s Pre-fall 2019 lookbook unveiled in January was anything to go by, Lee’s modern sensibility was manifested in the clean sporty lines, sleek leather trenches and unassumingly luxurious accessories.
Its campaign launch was relatively low-key; photographed by Tyrone Lebon, it immediately gained traction in the industry and among fashion influencers.
However, it is with the official FW19 collection that Daniel Lee truly brings his singularity of vision and makes his mark. Ultimately, the aim of this season’s collection is a simple one, to evoke emotion – pleasure and joy, desire and beauty.
In Singapore, the Bottega Veneta store at ION Orchard was given a full facelift with bright white walls and dark ivory limestone floors to inject a new sense of openness and modernity, and to usher in a new creative era for the brand.
Image credits: Runway images courtesy of Bottega Veneta, artwork by Curatedition. Bottega Veneta FW 2019 look as worn on model Leevke/Ave: styling by Sharon Tulasidas, Photography by Wee Khim, Hair & Make-up by Marc Teng.