“It’s not about the total look.” Even in a fashion moment like this one, when everyone’s talking about “real clothes,” you don’t hear a line like that from most designers, but it’s what Bottega Veneta’s Matthieu Blazy said as he launched into a run-through of this pre-spring collection. “With the team,” he explained, “we talked a lot about what makes individuals special, the pieces they wear and the pieces that tell a story—the pieces, sometimes, that are a bit off, something that feels very personal, what makes you different from others.”
What inspired the exercise, Blazy explained, was a trip home to his parents’ place, where he found himself going through his childhood wardrobe. A crab print dress of his sister’s made an impression, as did the “incredible labels” and slightly off proportions of his own old clothes. The crab print dress has been reimagined here as a sweater and matching skirt handknit in shades of turquoise and coral; on an ivory sweater in the same vein a scaly snake twists around the torso, its forked tongue flicking red. As for the oversize label stitched to the back of a tailored vest, it is indeed likely to conjure youthful memories for all who sees it.
Blazy’s instinct to create serious fashion out of unserious items feels of a piece with what he’s done on his runways, making jeans, tank tops, and flannel shirts out of the finest leather and in the process turning mundane garments into collector’s items. There is also a dress here whose print features a dancing marionette.
The Commedia dell’Arte was another reference this season; Blazy saw parallels between the harlequin costumes of its performers and Bottega Veneta’s own intrecciato motif. A leather coat in mint, burgundy, and white, and a bright yellow and black woven button-down and matching pants are showcases for the label’s striking artisanship and the design team’s embrace of fun and . On that note, a large intrecciato tote was constructed with an irregular weave that called to mind TV static or broken pixels. Definitely not just another it-bag.