Daniel Lee and Bottega Veneta parted ways last month, yet before we see Matthieu Blazy’s debut in February, there’s Lee’s resort 2022 collection which is the essense of his work for the brand. Development-wise, the collection predates the spring outing – Salon 03 – that took place in Detroit in October. The ideas here are much more precise and will definitely appeal to the New Bottega fans who will symbolically buy Lee’s final designs. It’s bright and upbeat, awash with juicy citrus and berry shades, and cut in rich, touchable textures. Not quite hedonistic but close; it’s a wardrobe for good times. In place of the directional tailoring that has distinguished preceding collections here, there was denim and corduroy, but done the Bottega Veneta way, meaning that the denim is knitted with jumbo stitching, and the corduroy comes in acid colors. Another no-brainer item that got the house treatment is the puffer; quilted on the bias in glossy orange and Hockney blue leather, it’s no run-of-the-mill jacket. If coming at everyday items with an elevated touch was one part of the Bottega Veneta story under Lee, the other was to emphasize high craftsmanship—to make things at a couture-like level without bending to couture-ish propriety. The hand-crocheted and -beaded dresses here belong to that rubric, even though they’re designed in the bare, easy shapes of beach cover-ups. Likewise, the intarsia shearling bathrobes. A dress underneath one of the robes, in a smaller version of the coat’s interlocking pattern, is cut from classic swimsuit material; together they really do channel the Miami-in-December vibe. And now the big question: after three years of Lee’s reign, which was cut abruptly, where will Blazy take the brand?
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.