Friday 24th July

| BY Paul Toner

Neneh Cherry, Tricky and Octavian Star In Bottega Veneta’s New Short Film

Since joining Bottega Veneta back in 2018, Daniel Lee has completely redefined the codes of the esteemed Italian house. Assisting him on his epic journey has been photographer and filmmaker Tyrone Lebon, who has stepped behind the lens for each of Lee’s campaigns and lookbooks thus far. Now the duo’s on-going collaboration has entered an exciting new stage in its evolution. Lee and Lebon have created a short-film focused on modern masculinity.

Entitled Bottega Veneta: Men, the film was first revealed via a selection of portable projectors which were sent to fashion editors globally, before making its way to streaming service Mubi. A celebration of the people who have both inspired and shaped his tenure at the house thus far, Lee invited a cohort of musicians, actors and artists to answer the question ‘What qualities make a man?’ The film opens with the beady eyes of a young Roman. “I don’t know,” they respond, pouting at the camera lens. Later in the film, we see Roman swallowed in a dusty cornflower suit, where they speak about identifying both as a boy and a girl. “Is this something you’ve ever thought about,” asks Lebon. “No, never.”

Instead of using the film as an opportunity to debut his SS21 menswear collection, Lee opted to use clothes from both previous and current seasons – aligning with the seasonless narrative he has envisioned for the house. The film brings together a brilliant collective of this generation’s finest talent and the groundbreaking artists who came before them. Artist and filmmaker Dick Jewell speaks of his days as a mod, and the rigid uniform conduct that came with it – speaking of the three-piece mohair suits he wore, with narrow collars and even turn-ups. He sports a rather smashing Bottega camel suit, which appears slightly elongated at the sleeve.

“I think I’ve always written from a women’s perspective,” admits legendary trip-pop artist Tricky, though his distinctive Bristolian twang. He speaks of wearing dresses and Dr. Marten boots since he was 15. His slender frame becomes engulfed in a roomy leather trench, before changing into a light-weight, nylon windbreaker in a highlighter pink. Another legendary musician in her own right, Neneh Cherry, strides with immense swagger. “Of course I had style,” she chuckles, sporting a Buffalo-esque boxy blazer and shorts combo, worn with chunky leather boots. Other faces include Dunkirk actor Barry Keoghan, contemporary artist George Rouy and critically acclaimed dancers Roberto Bolle and Michael Clark. The latter wears a rather splendid crochet shirt, in a punchy lemon yellow.

Each muse styles their look in their own distinct manner. Musician Obongjayar wears a massive pair of slouched, denim overalls – stripping them down to the waist. “You may not have the balls to put on kiwi boots, but I think it’s f**king sick,” he says; pointing to his neon Bottega wellies. And he’s not the only footwear fan. “I love the shoes, the shoes are mad,” proclaims French-British rapper Octavian, who wears a pair of oxblood brogues in swollen proportions.

Tender in its portrayal of modern masculinity, Bottega Veneta: Men proves that digital fashion – stripped away from all the gimmicks – can be rather touching indeed.

You can watch the full film here.