“Bottega Veneta is in essence pragmatic because it is a leather goods company. Because it specialises in bags it is about movement, of going somewhere; there is fundamentally an idea of craft in motion. It is style over fashion in its timelessness. That is part of its quiet power,” Matthieu Blazy shared.
What makes Bottega Veneta, Bottega Veneta? In creative director Matthieu Blazy’s foundation collection there is a return to a fundamental questioning of the brand: a building on the past to realise the present and evoke the future.
A story of clothing and character is explored by maker and wearer, an exchange that involves a sense of motion and emotion. Eschewing disposability and away from pure spectacle, it ultimately results in the more private pleasure of ‘quiet power,’ something felt, rather than seen. Here, extravagance meets utility; there is a permeation of the everyday with poignant materials and techniques, things that could only be realised through the traditional craft of the artisans in the Italian ateliers. Simultaneously and playfully, all is lightly worn by a cinematographic cast of characters who bring a sense of subversion to tradition, of movement, sensuality and life: where have they come from and where are they going to?
From the Italian bombshell in her everyday, photo-real denim (it’s really a printed, supple nubuck, startlingly realised) with her Kalimero bag slung over her shoulder, (each bag a feat of artisanal craft, the uniquely hand woven leather intreccio is one piece, made without stitching); to the girls in their lover’s business shirts (again, they’re nubuck, accomplished as traditional shirting) and their intreccio thigh high boots (again, woven as a single piece); then on to men and women in supposedly stripped down suiting, revealing in profile a more radical, recurring silhouette (the inspiration of Umberto Boccioni’s 1913 sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, is writ large, making the Italian Futurist past into the ever present through volumes realised in pattern cutting). Rigorous fabrications, all freshly and exclusively formulated for ultra-lightness, fullness, movement and texture, are found throughout for both men and women; from new wool flannels, and colour flecked herringbones, through to thrice printed textural pieces built around the body, to new interpretations of Leavers lace, still accomplished on eighteenth century looms, layered with twenty first century synthetic jersey. Knitwear is purposely idiosyncratic, reminiscent of cherished childhood pieces in their uniqueness.
At times this cast of characters clutch leather Pillow bags (and if you are attending the show, you are sat on one; it is yours to take.) Even intreccio boxes, more familiar from homeware, might be clasped. Here, the question isn’t ‘why?’ But, ‘why not?’ An individual’s gestures matter; it’s ultimately the wearer’s decision how to move and live in this clothing, of how they will tell their own tales through these pieces, that is ultimately respected and encouraged by the maker. And it is perhaps this that defines what Bottega Veneta truly stands for: an emotional investment in objects for life – in both senses of the term.