His-and-Her Bottega Veneta Accessories You Can Wear This Season.
Last year, Daniel Lee became the first designer to ever snag four London Fashion Awards titles in a single year — Designer of The Year, Accessories Designer of The Year, British Womenswear Designer of The Year , and Brand of The Year. The creative director’s triumphs are phenomenal, considering at the time of his win, he had only been with the Italian brand for a little over a year.
But Lee isn’t new to the fashion industry, he’s just been working in the shadows, if you will. Lee’s portfolio spans from jobs at Maison Martin Margiela to Balenciaga and Donna Karan, and before his appointment at Bottega Veneta in June 2018, he was the director of ready-to-wear at Celine during Phoebe Philo’s stint.
This collection was just Lee’s third outing for the brand and already his keen eye for luxury craft, executed appropriately in — but, of course — the Milanese way, shows. There’s also a sense of unconventional freshness that Lee’s introduced to the Vincenza-born (circa, 1966) house thus far — it’s personal, it’s visceral and yet very crowd-pleasing… Lee’s got everything going for him (and then, those four awards).
The show notes read: “A rush of vitality and movement, Fall 2020 celebrates sublime evolution… Elongated silhouettes stretch and cling. Luxurious comfort and warmth. Gentle tones of stocking and bandage recall the twist and bend of the body. Joy. Grace. Form.”
It comes as no surprise that Lee is fascinated and very much inspired by the brand’s dedication towards making everything soft and supple. It was a bold move on the 34-year-old’s part to shelf the brand’s iconic intrecciato pattern in favour of smooth buttery leather for the Pouch bag and Stretch sandals — new hit classics that earned its merit as Most Wanted Products in 2019 on the Lyst index.
In this collection, Lee dabbled in technical aspects both pleasing and uber refreshing to the eye. The most compelling was his execution with fringe. The effect was expressive and energetic, and it brought a heightened sense of joy and movement. In some looks, the fringe details were abundant and cut from a chubby fur textile, which appeared limber and moved as lithe as a danseur’s grace — heavenly!
To make things more challenging and, not to mention, delightful, Lee showed how a girl could wear (and would desire to wear) heavily fringed pieces with bags that boasted equally excessive fringe work. In at least two looks, models stomped down the runway in fringed hem dresses, clutching the Crisscross clutch with its willow-y cascade of leather streamers. It was a dramatic sight to behold, much like watching art come alive before one’s eyes.
The Crisscross clutch also catered to the minimalist whose needs may arguably be simpler but certainly not less exquisite. Case in point: Lee dressed a model in red eveningwear, a neck-to-toe sequin number with Crisscross clutch in staple black nappa leather in hand — no fuss, no frills; well, maybe just a wee bit, and in the form of the brand’s patrimonial intrecciato.
Bottega Veneta has been showing co-ed collections since 2017 because the brand promotes its men’s and women’s universe as one. As such, there’s always good synergy shared between both gender categories. For example: Male and female models wore similar shoes in this collection and carried bags that weren’t necessarily gender specific. The new Clasp clutch made for men came in a new shape and was constructed as a large, fold-over pouch. The effect of clutching it about looked classic, very unisex and maybe even a little trendy; but more importantly they appeared roomy, as well as functional and superbly well-made. In fact, the savoir faire behind these gems paid attention to Lee’s penchant for fabric softness and how to render it more effectively. The result: Lining the interior exactly as you would the exterior, or more specifically, making each leather piece a double-sided strip before the hand-woven process.
There were a couple of oversized bags that female models toted cross-body style, which judging by their dimensions and proportions, would sit perfectly on a male frame, too. This is not the first time Lee has proposed larger-than-life bags for clientele with active, on-the-go lifestyles. The Central Saint Martins College graduate has shown oversized bags from as early as his debut collection.
Images courtesy of Bottega Veneta, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.