Friday 20th September

| BY Claudia Croft

Bottega Veneta: Ready-To-Wear SS20

“I want to be bold, otherwise what’s the point. I’m quite black or white. I want to make a statement. I don’t see the point in making fashion that’s not saying something.” So said @bottegaveneta’s Daniel Lee, the young man who seems to have single-handedly dressed the front row in square toed sandals, leather Bermuda shorts and pillowy clutch bags. Bottega has won the taste game and in the process, Lee has gone from being a total unknown to a designer with a devoted and growing following. Journalists and well-wishers clustered round the Yorkshireman post show, hanging on his every word and just like his designs, his message was clear, concise, uncompromising and delivered with powerful feeling.

The opening look – a one-shouldered knit dress, gold link necklace, white quilted mules and a whopping cross body bag – gave everyone in the audience an instant taste-changing frisson. Nobody else is doing these proportions. The fabrics and cuts were impeccable. There were scarf tops worn with leather bermudas (a trend Lee started last season and now seen on every Milan catwalk); Leather and denim carpenter pants worn with matching utility shirts; trench-back dresses that would work for women of all ages; tailored jackets with exaggerated shoulders which tapered to be tight over the hips. His great accessory innovation came with supersized, sack-like hobos worn across the body.

Lee may have described himself as black and white but he is a great colourist. His leather parkas were the colour of tomato soup. There were deep aubergine bodycon knits, toffee crisp trenches and ice blue leather coats. This collection thrilled with sophistication. It was softer than his first Matrix-inflected catwalk outing, but no less impactful. Daniel Lee couldn’t be mediocre if he tried. It’s just not in his nature. Instead, restless and righteous, he pushes ideas of beauty, modernity and taste ever forward. He’s the one to watch.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans