Odd Sensuality. Bottega Veneta SS20

Daniel Lee‘s second collection at Bottega Veneta was the most anticipated moment of Milan fashion week. In fact, it’s the second collection that is the hardest: how to keep all the attention you had at the very beginning, excite everyone, and simultaneously be consistent? After his extremely promising debut and the global craze caused by the label’s pouches (they are a constant sold-outer on nearly each site) and so-fugly-it’s-good footwear, Daniel’s spring-summer 2020 was unexpectedly laid-back. Since all the Philophiles have turned into New Bottega fans, and they seem super assertive and passionate about it, it’s life-threatening to even say that I’m not really a fan of this collection. My first thought was that it’s the lazier version of autumn-winter 2019 line-up: same beaded dresses but in new colours, super over-sized coats, knitted dresses with sharp, at a first glance odd in positioning skin-baring details (as in case of men’s sweaters), leather bermuda shorts. The newest addition – the monkey printed silks – felt completely random. I might even say that I liked menswear more than womenswear: those blazers are to die for, not speaking of the black trench coat on James Turtlington (yes, this Turtlington). Bottega Veneta’s accessories thrive in being hot. Exaggerated weavings on the sandals are new take on the house’s intreciatto; the pouch clutch came in leather crotchet; the shoulder bags are bigger than ever. Still, the ready-to-wear missed the mark for me, as for the first impression. Maybe I’m saying that right now and I will change my mind when I see the clothes in stores.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Getting Better and Better. Bottega Veneta Resort 2020

It’s been 11 months since Daniel Lee‘s arrival to Bottega Veneta, and it seems he’s there for, like, forever. Throughout this short time, the brand received big love from clients, who never bought at Bottega before. And it seems that the success isn’t solely rooted on the absence of Phobe Philo. Lee and his team prove this in the resort 2020 collection, which is sublime in every aspect, from bags to clothes. Leather accessories, whether in the brand’s signature intrecciato weave or not, are so good. Just look at the wrist-slung, tightly knotted bag in blue or orange strips of soft matte leather, or the sandals in fake snake, which featured three and a half encirclements of leather strip that ran upwards (these worked to cinch Lee’s expertly cut wide-leg pants and were complemented by similarly functioning bracelets). Clothes are a delight, as well. Whether we’re speaking of the draped leather dress in orange worn by Maria Carla Boscono or all the trench coats that appeared in the look-book, it’s a dream wardrobe. Minimalism and top knotch craftsmanship aren’t a novelty, but Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo get that balance especially well in Italy today. Better start saving…

All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

The Want: Bottega Venetta’s Pouch

The Want: It’s one of the first designs by Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta. ‘The Pouch’ is an oversized clutch made with soft folds of the brand’s handwoven intrecciato leather that envelope the bag’s frame and create a voluminous, rounded shape. Bottega Veneta’s heritage of leather craftsmanship, refreshed and revised with modern sensibility. If only the price tag wasn’t that painful…

Photo by Edward Kanarecki.

Tenderness & Leather. Bottega Veneta AW19

First thing’s first: stop calling Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta the ‘new Céline’. Should we really replace Phoebe Philo? Phoebe has her irreplaceable style, which is the ideal balance between femininity, minimalism and artistic quirk. Those who have her clothes, lucky you, cherish and wear them. Let’s all hope she will come back to fashion soon – that’s it. On Lee’s note, yes, he ‘grew up’ creatively in her design studio, but I’m sure he must be already tired with all that loud comparing and the Philophiles-generated pressure of being a Céline replacement. Now it’s his Bottega Veneta, and as his debut runway collection proved, this guy has a mind of his own. I’m saying this right away: his collection didn’t completely ‘wow’ me, at some points it was over-complicated. But that’s fine, because every debut has its ups and downs. The designer focused on leather, because Bottega Veneta has always been a leather brand. While the motocross look felt, simply speaking, like too much leather, accessories were the most compelling part of the collection (the shoes in signature Intrecciato weave are so, so good, just like all the heavy boots, geometrical handbags and fringed clutches, of course in leather). A future Bottega Veneta customer should definitely invest in one of those new classics. A sharp injection of modernity was as well brought to clothes. A square neck dress that opened the collection was sensual, but strong, just like the asymmetric knits (they looked extra on guys) and quilted skirts. But then, some of the coats’ shoulders were a bit too bold and kind of conflicted with all this tender, close-to-body feeling. Good things are coming to Bottega Veneta, let’s just all hope the designer will get the time he needs to fully establish his new language for the brand. And don’t mistake him with Philo.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.