Strange Encounter. Bottega Veneta AW23

The latest Bottega Veneta collection by Matthieu Blazy is a lot. He’s a “designer” with special emphasis put on the word “design”, and that shows in every single of the over 80 looks he presented yesterday in Milan. This season, Blazy focused on “the idea of the strange encounter – people that you meet in the street and they really amaze you. It’s a place where everyone belongs,” like a parade, or Carnevale, “where there is absolutely no hierarchy.” There’s security in a single message show – many designers resort to that concept this season – but Blazy and the team “decided not to edit the collection.” Instead, they kept adding characters and occasions for which to dress them, starting with a just-stepped-out-of-bed sheer dressing gown and house shoes. What does a Bottega Veneta house shoe look like? It’s a slipper sock, only the wool upper is not wool at all but knitted leather. We saw layered dresses with sweet flower embroideries that called to mind luxury long johns, deconstructed 1950s screen star dresses, and an exceptional LBD with a swooping neckline and a front slit not quite high enough to reveal the top of over-the-knee intrecciato boots. Materials-wise, Blazy was after light, unconstrained fabrics, even though the effect rather read as unflattering and cumbersome (especially some of the women’s coats and eveningwear). The silhouettes sometimes went to uncomfortable extremes. ‘Rolled’ waistband skirts were meant to conjure the fishtail bottom half of mermaids, fantastic creatures being part of Carnevale festivities. You could go on and on about the aesthetics of Blazy’s Bottega Veneta. It’s definitely not one thing. He said of Italian style that inspires him, “I always look at how women and men here layer. It’s very sophisticated, even when it doesn’t work, you know? It’s so personal.” Officially, this show marked the end of his Italian trilogy. Where to next?

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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