Last June, Bottega Veneta announced it had found its new creative director: the Kering-operated luxury brand had chosen Daniel Lee, a Central Saint Martins trained designer who honed his craft at Phoebe Philo's Céline ateliers in Paris, to take the reins following Tomas Meier's 17-year tenure. A mere three months into the job, Lee made his Bottega Veneta debut last week with a mens- and womenswear Pre-Fall 2019 collection.
When Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro established their brand in 1966, Bottega Veneta first specialised in intricately worked leather goods; the duo's Vicenza-based artisans mastered new ways to knot, twist, stitch and weave prestige materials. A selection of the brand's archival techniques found their way into Lee's first collection: the 32 years old English designer magnified Bottega Veneta's emblematic basket-like Intrecciato motif, creating supersized totes and boxy clutch bags.
Elsewhere, the surface of leather skirts was worked with a new technique using lasers to achieve a cushiony quilted matelassé effect. Lee sought to define a modern-day Bottega Veneta wardrobe; inspiration came in the guise of Monica Vitti's on- and off screen get-ups and the tailored elegance he spotted on the streets in his new hometown Milan.
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Sticking to a muted colour palette – warm camels, black and clean whites matched with occasional green and deep orange jewel-tones – Lee designed silk-scarf dresses worn underneath leather A-line dresses, high-necked shearling chubby jackets and tailored coats with exaggerated silk cuffs mirroring the coat's lining.
Lee's menswear strikes a more casual note: the sportswear-oriented counterpoint to his bon chic bon genre womenswear collection includes leather shorts with workwear-infused pockets and tab detailing, zipped blousons and Great coats worn atop hooded sweaters, all matched with many-laced trainers and hardwearing nylon bags.
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