Wednesday 12th June

| BY Claudia Croft

Bottega Veneta: Pre-Spring 2020

The new dawn at Bottega Veneta shines brightly. The Italian brand gathered European editors to an exhibition space in Milan to show off creative director Daniel Lee’s third collection for the brand – Pre-Spring 2020 collections for men and women.

These clothes mark the first year of the new decade, and surveying the Bottega racks, you can feel a distinct aesthetic shift away from the overt decoration that has dominated fashion, into something disciplined and designed. The rigours of craft, cut, line and construction are plain to see here at Bottega Veneta. The Matrix toughness of Lee’s catwalk debut softened for this showing.

PJ Harvey and Paloma Picasso were touch stones for the women’s collection which majored on impeccable tailoring, crafted and cut to a level far above most commercial ready to wear. Lee wasn’t there, but key members of his design team were on hand to articulate the new Bottega vision and the talent pool is deep here.  They all talk with delight about Lee’s commitment to luxury and creating eternal pieces. nothing is disposable.

One of the designers from the women’s design team, explained that it’s not unusual for the studio to make 10 prototypes, in the real fabric, to perfect the fit. That kind of attention to detail is unheard of outside of couture. In the brave new Bottega world, Old-school craft melds beautifully with industrial technology. A stretch leather sheath dress was made with no stitching or seams. Instead, using a technique from its bag making division, the pieces of glove-soft leather were bonded together with glue and the join was imperceptible. Other stand-out pieces include a green leather mac with a wide corrugated waist band draped knits and an intreciatto trench woven so that it draped like liquid on the body.

The accessories were equally strong. A new pouch shape in zesty orange or cracked white chewing gum coloured leather will make the hearts of bag freaks flutter. Other delights? Supersize intreciatto square-toe mules, witchy red loafers with elongated chisel toes, and Louis heeled court shoes. Add Paloma Picasso inspired, sculptural gold jewellery and it all adds up to a seductive, modern look. For menswear, the same attention to detail, precision cuts and craft are deployed, although the mood is darker and more sexual –  nipple revealing knits, zip up nylon jump suits, aggro boots and Matrix macs. Daniel Lee has the 2020’s in his sights and we like the look of it. The new decade starts here.