New Start. Bottega Veneta Pre-Fall 2019

 

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.

Garment Care Season. Vaquera Pre-Fall 2019

Vaquera’s Patric DiCaprio, Claire Sullivan, and Bryn Taubensee are New York’s young avant-grade of fashion. But even the biggest enfants terrible need to grow up someday: here’s the first pre-collection coming from them. For Pre-Fall 2019, Vaquera’s designers remade some of their brightest ideas into a capsule of clothes and accessories at prices their younger fans can truly appreciate. They designed fewer than a dozen silhouettes, some of them recognizable from past shows, and limited themselves to just three materials: a cotton poplin, a dark-rinse denim and a sweatshirt fabric (look at the distorted, white track suit – it’s genius!). Smart move. Vaquera called this their “Garment Care season”: they introduced dry cleaning slips and printed the back of hoodies with a Vaquera dry cleaners logo. The collection’s sock bag with its coin-purse clasp is a nod in the direction of Martin Margiela, who did same with a leather glove two decades ago. Fun tailoring and even crazier shirting might be a harder sell, but then, Vaquera doesn’t want to lose its arty edginess it became renowned for in the city.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Confidence. Chloé Pre-Fall 2019

It’s clear Natacha Ramsay-Levi feels more and more confident with every season at Chloé – and that works. The designer continues to play with the label’s horse motif, as well as experiments with the monograms from the maison‘s archive. But there’s much more to it in her pre-fall 2019. You can see brilliant tailoring and outerwear. Dozens of whimsy, breezy dresses that are distinctly Chloé, but as well very Natacha – especially, when styled with heavy boots she adores so much and revisits each time. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the richness of textures, fabrics and prints. Take the ‘clashed’ floral dress worn over a turtleneck blouse or the velvet flares styled a parsley pussy-bow top and a corduroy, riding jacket. New bags are here, too. If one can’t really afford to plunge in Chloé, then at least the designer shares a number of truly inspiring tips on how to dress next autumn. It’s all about a Victorian-era inspired shirt, a splash of print kept in a warm colour palette and a pair of gorgeous, polished boots.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Their Classics. Proenza Schouler Pre-Fall 2019

For many brands, a pre-collection isn’t just the season with the longest shelf life. It’s also the right moment to remind its classics; brand codes; signature pieces – whatever you call it. Proenza Schouler‘s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are aware of that – and they aren’t afraid to repeat themselves, in a healthy, balanced way. Tie-dye print is the label’s long-time friend, and with its major success as a turtleneck last winter, the PS boys brought it back in new colour combinations. Sensual slip-dresses with feminine detailing were especially present in Proenza Schouler’s first collections, more or less a decade ago. Now they are back, styled with big pants and masculine blazers. Spring-summer 2019’s XXL-bag is staying for a longer, too, just as washed denim. Although we’ve seen all that, let’s admit this: the collection looks good. Even very good.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.