Over the weekend, all anyone could talk about on Fashion Twitter was Bottega Veneta. Creative director Matthieu Blazy’s sophomore collection for the Italian brand set the Internet ablaze with accolades over his modern take on wardrobe dressing, moving past clichés of the term and creating clothes for now and forever. The new “trend,” in fact, is the anti-trend. It’s personal, it’s private, it’s who we want to be when we get up in the morning and walk out the door. The notion of luxury dressing is dying. Blazy is single-handedly bringing it back to life.
On Saturday evening, Blazy debuted his collection in a space made in collaboration with iconic Italian artist Gaetano Pesce, who installed a colorful resin floor with 400 matching chairs, each uniquely dipped, none exactly alike. Pesce calls the chairs “Come Stai?” (“How are you?” in Italian). Blazy took this cornerstone greeting and infused it into his collection, almost reworking the phrase’s warm welcoming to mean “come as you are.”
“This space is a tribute to diversity. It is about the human being; we are all different. People who say we are all the same—fuck them! We are all different and this is our defining quality— otherwise, we are just a copy. We are all originals and this is one of the themes of my design.” —Gaetano Pesce
The opening looks, worn on the same duo of models who opened last season, demonstrate the personality and personability Blazy imbues into his designs. Take, for instance, a plaid shirt printed over a dozen times to perfect the saturation and distressing, paired with a cashmere tank and nubuck leather printed jeans. Or a boxy gray T-shirt with a tan sweater tied nonchalantly around the shoulders. Nothing is fussy, clingy, or overworked. Proportion and fabrication are the stars of the show. The look is finished with who you choose to show up as in the clothing. Understated luxury, but if you know, you know.
That’s not to say all of the clothes were as simple as the plaid shirt and jeans that Kate Moss sauntered down the runway in. Blazy creates three-dimensional looks that, yes, look good in a photo, but look best on the street, hailing a cab, catching an elevator before it closes, taking it to the top floor, and dancing the night away. Razor-sharp tailoring in buttery leather, knit jacquard dresses with fringed hems, and a trio of fringe finale dresses seduce, show restraint, and ground themselves in art, movement, and fashion with a capital F. The clothes are mature and the price tag confirms they are indeed valuable. Blazy knows the modern customer because he is friends with them—he’s worked with them, and for them, not unlike gallery director Lucy Chadwick who also walked in the show.
In terms of accessories, the big bag is in. In particular, oversized Allez Hop! totes ring the death knell for the mini bag. A croc-embossed patent leather coat and skirt paired with jewels and a tank top are as fitting for Tilda Swinton as the archetypal Milanese housewife in I Am Love, or, perhaps, the contemporary creative on the go, with multiple bags in tow. I can’t stop thinking about the woman in a sheer cotton-crepe white dress carrying her jacket and bag in one hand, phone in the other, running late to dinner, but so damn sure of who she is that she’s alright with her tardiness. Come as you are!
There is no gimmickry in the clothes Blazy designs. He is creating quiet luxury in a time when brands are vying for our attention via superficial marketing ploys and artificial pizzazz for the sake of the extra sales, impressions, and Instagram likes. He taps into a subversive return to minimalism, not a literal minimalism, but a minimalism of showmanship.
As he states via press release, “The premise is simple—the collection is about a contrast of characters on the go, invited to travel through Gaetano Pesce’s landscape. Here, two distinct worlds are juxtaposed, while our journey of craft in motion and quiet power continues.” Blazy knows we’ve got shit to do, bags to schlep, imminent societal collapses to survive, and he wants to streamline the experience and expectations of getting dressed without sacrificing artfulness, craft, individuality, and, of course, joy.
Watch Bottega Veneta’s summer 2023 runway show here:
Kevin LeBlanc is the Fashion Associate at ELLE Magazine. He covers fashion news, trends, and anything to do with Robyn Rihanna Fenty.