Daniel Lee and Bottega Veneta parted company last month, but an object in motion stays in motion. The Italian label, which enjoyed tremendous growth under Lee, is opening a store in New York City’s SoHo later this week, and this pre-spring offering—Wardrobe 03, in house parlance—is what curious shoppers will see at the new Greene Street space.
Development-wise, the collection predates the spring outing—Salon 03—that took place in Detroit in October. It’s bright and upbeat, awash with juicy citrus and berry shades, and cut in rich, touchable textures. Not quite hedonistic but close; it’s a wardrobe for good times—at Art Basel, say, or for Barbados Independence Day. Rihanna wore a dress by the brand when she was named a national hero of her native country last month.
In place of the directional tailoring that has distinguished preceding collections here, there was denim and corduroy, but done the Bottega Veneta way, meaning that the denim is knitted with jumbo stitching, and the corduroy—jacket, pants, and matching boots—comes in acid colors. Another no-brainer item that got the house treatment is the puffer; quilted on the bias in glossy orange and Hockney blue leather, it’s no run-of-the-mill jacket.
If coming at everyday items with an elevated touch was one part of the Bottega Veneta story under Lee, the other was to emphasize high craftsmanship—to make things at a couture-like level without bending to couture-ish propriety. The hand-crocheted and -beaded dresses here belong to that rubric, even though they’re designed in the bare, easy shapes of beach cover-ups. Likewise, the intarsia shearling bathrobes. A dress underneath one of the robes, in a smaller version of the coat’s interlocking pattern, is cut from classic swimsuit material; together they really do channel the Miami-in-December vibe. Milan in February is where it’s at for this brand, though; that’s when Matthieu Blazy makes his debut as creative director and we’ll get to see where he wants to take this buzzy label.