So, I haven’t written about Bottega Veneta for ages. Here’s why. Tomas Maier’s vision for the brand was proper, classy. Sometimes comfy, sometimes lady-like. You always knew what to expect from him: very well-crafted, safe outings with occasional, special appearances. It seemed he’s at Bottega forever. Clearly, at one point the brand needed a stir. And here we are with Daniel Lee, British designer you surely never heard of a year ago. The moment Maier exited Bottega Veneta was just a few months after Phoebe Philo’s departure from Céline – and with a sudden gap to fill for Philophiles, Lee appeared in the right place, right time. He’s the guy who was at helm of ready-to-wear at Philo’s Céline. It seems to be clear that he should know how to design clothes suited for the Philo-loving women (and men). His debut, pre-fall 2019 presentation eventually feels very familiar to Phoebe’s presence. The collection orbited around leather (the brand is a heritage leather house) and the question of how it can be translated in a chic, modern way. The signature intrecciato technique appeared in coats and dresses, while the bags received an XXL treatment (so, so good!). Contrasting colour palette; minimal jewellery; sensual neck-lines; over-sized outerwear – it’s a stylish, elegant, yet comfortable wardrobe that’s absolutely seasonless and ageless. Menswear is impressive as well. One might say that there’s nothing overly innovative about it – but then, when was the last time you saw such a gorgoues, camel suit? I just hope that while everyone’s putting Lee into the ‘new Philo’ shelf, this won’t become a sort of curse for him. His design is close to Phoebe’s Céline, yes. But look again. It’s completely different. It’s rawer, it’s more modest, slightly Helmut Lang-ish (just see some of the 90s collections to get what I mean). I’m really, really can’t wait to see Daniel’s first runway collection – coming in March, I bet.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
There is something incredibly appealing about Lucie and Luke Meier’s pre-fall 2019 collection for Jil Sander. Of course, every Philophile (read: an individual with a maniacal obsession for Phoebe Philo) will note a number of Céline-like moments – take the knitted pants with a matching top, for example. But since Phoebe isn’t designing, and some of us decided to completely disconnect from Hedi Slimane’s Celine, Jil Sander seems to be entering that niche with big steps. What I definitely loved about this collection is its tactility, always so in-demand during the autumn season. Meiers’ simplicity isn’t coldly minimal, but rather soft and fleecy. Whether it’s a coat with a fringed blanket element, a classical pinstripe shirt dress or a voluminous duvet jacket with a hoodie that turns into a collar, Jil Sander has you covered with great outerwear and comfortable daywear. Also, don’t call the clothes ‘over-sized’. “They’re not oversize really,” said Lucie. “They’re generous, friendly volumes; it’s all about comfort, the softness around the body. There are no hard edges.” The cozy feeling was translated into double wools, lightly padded silks, and spongy, natural felts. Accessories haven’t been that good at Jil Sander for a while, too. Their new XXL bags (some, at first sight, looked like made from paper – is it a nod to Raf Simons’s iconic men’s clutches he did for the brand back in 2012?) and leather clogs are so, so good. The Meiers thrive.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
For Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran, women’s and men’s wardrobe is one universe. That’s why they presented both on one runway this season. In terms of clothes, this was a classic Lemaire collection, without much risks. Shirt dress in cotton ventile, double breasted jacket, baggy skirt in pigment dye poplin, oversized, knotted trench coat (as seen on Tasha Tilberg), linen sailor pants, large bum bags in nappa leather… clothes that are in constant demand. Majority of the looks is genderless (for example the coats, that are cut in the same way for both women and men). I adore Lemaire, but I wish the designers tried new territories next time – this collection looks very much like their last few seasons, just kept in different colour palette. If not for the live music and the models’ eventual dancing, that would be a rather stiff presentation, gone completely unnoticed in the Paris fashion week crowd.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Here we’ve got the other anniversary collection from London. Unlike Mary Katrantzou, Victoria Beckham didn’t revisit her archives literally for the collection that celebrates her 10 years in fashion. And, other than the appearance on the London fashion week schedule, major media fuss and the appearance of model greats on the runway (like Stella Tennant, who opened the show, Małgosia Bela, Grace Bol, Tasha Tilberg and Liya Kebede), that was a very regular, Victoria Beckham collection. Chic, slouchy tailoring, super-slim crepe trousers that are here to be worn underneath every second dress you’ve got, satin tank-tops with lace inserts, minimal eveningwear, over-sized shirts. Wardrobe essentials, elevated with a refreshing colour palette and minimal-feminine sensitivity. Soul II Soul’s Back To Life played in the background, reminding the soundtrack from Phoebe Philo’s remarkable spring-summer 2014 collection. This triggered the inner finding of parallels between Philo’s work, and Beckham’s brand codes the designer repeats and refines every season. But then, I can somehow forgive Victoria for doing that. Look at her now, 10 years later. That body-con dress and killer stilettos are buried deep, deep in the fashion history. Let’s see what the next decade brings for this iconic, ever-changing woman.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki, featuring Euan Uglow’s painting.