HOW MATTHIEU BLAZY IS CONTINUING TO WEAVE NEW TRENDS AND TALES FOR BOTTEGA VENETA’S RENAISSANCE
BY RHIANNA JONES
In a digital era oversaturated with content, commerce, and culture, every fashion house clamors to come up with “the new thing.” The magic algorithm’s generally a musical chairs of tapping rather unknown younger street wear designers to revamp age-old houses Virgil, Demna, etc. and dropping a shiny, sassy IG-approved new look. It was this exact formula that ushered in the New Bottega, knighting Daniel Lee in 2018 to bring his Midas touch to give the Venetian house the Céline effect he picked up assisting Phoebe Philo. And while Bottega’s understated luxury differs from Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga’s global clout and cachet, Lee managed to reinvent Bottega with equally covetous bags, boots, and now-iconic “Bottega Green.” He turned the tired house into an overnight sensation, and as such, his unexpected departure in 2021 left some very large intrecciato shoes to ll. Matthieu Blazy, Lee’s longtime collaborator and second hand, has taken the reins and continues to weave his own take on the New, New Bottega.
Considering Bottega’s legacy of impeccable tailoring, luxurious materials, and leather goods, its minimalist aesthetic and intentional design were a ripe canvas for Blazy, who earned his design pedigree at Raf Simons, Margiela, Céline, and Calvin Klein. Despite high pressures and anticipation, his Fall/ Winter 2022 debut proved he has a vision of his own and is staking a claim on the house’s newfound hype. The opening look was straight out of today’s de rigeur ‘90s playbook: a simple white tank paired with seemingly low rise blue “jeans” that were actually made from leather. Sharp suiting and leather separates strutted down the runway, echoing Bottega Veneta’s continued legacy of supple, streamlined simplicity.
Paying homage to Bottega’s Italian roots, Blazy took inspiration from sculptor Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space to envision a collection embodying “luxury in motion.” is translated into the designer’s choice of sweeping silhouettes, diaphanous dresses, and shimmying statement pieces. He celebrated Bottega’s leather legacy with an emphasis on angularity and layers, from cocoon shaped cabin coats and fringe-trimmed trapeze skirts to flared trousers paired with boots made for walking. The color palette paid an equal nod to Bottega’s archives, with a canvas of muted neutrals chocolate browns, ochres, and navy interspersed with pops of cherry red, citrus yellow, and calming lavender. Silky slip dresses and sequin mini frocks added a sense of playfulness amongst a runway of boxy suiting and sumptuous knits. Naturally the house’s notorious accessories took center stage, with its signature “intrecciato” woven leather appearing everywhere in statement making boots, towering platforms, initiated clutches, and cinching belts.
Time will tell if Blazy’s Bottega will garner the same hysteria as Lee’s edition, but it’s safe to say the injection of youthful energy is the heartbeat of the house’s newfound renaissance, proving that staying power is not always the most desirable feeling in fashion, but instead a sense of excitement and urgency. In an industry dropping trends at a meteoric pace, it’s often challenging for designers to truly captivate audiences whose affections and attentions are scrolling through life. As such, the dance between timeless and topical can be tricky, but seemingly the thread weaving the old with Blazy’s new Bottega. Blazy revived key silhouettes of the brand’s storied past, but with a trendy twist: red leather shrunken suiting, for instance, and other design trademarks sure to make waves (the intrecciato thigh-high boots for one). From a house long lacking dynamism, the New, New Bottega reminds us that even in a world riddled with hopelessness, a little creativity and imagination can always rekindle a beacon of light.