Bottega Veneta explores new territory with surprising show in Detroit
Bottega Veneta has got its sights firmly set on the United States, a strategy that was clear in its decision to unveil its collection for Spring/Summer 2022 in Detroit. Following Moschino's New York show in September and just before Gucci hits Los Angeles on November 3, the Kering-owned Italian luxury brand chose this unexpected fashion destination for "Salon 03," the latest in the series of off-calendar events that the label's creative director, Daniel Lee, has been organizing over the last year, with the first having taken place in London in 2020 and the second in Berlin in April. On October 21, Lee therefore took to Michigan's largest city to reveal a collection that unabashedly took inspiration from the U.S., a market where the Bottega Veneta brand saw its sales increase 52% in the third quarter of this year.
Discovered by Lee in 2015, the former capital of the U.S. auto industry, which has since been ravaged by industrial and financial crises, struck the designer, a fan of cars and techno music, with its similarities to the region where he grew up in the north of England, as well as to Manchester, where he completed his studies. He therefore took inspiration from Detroit's creative energy and technical innovation for his new women's and menswear collection, which he revealed at the historic Michigan Theater, first built in 1926 and now transformed into a parking lot. Approximately 240 people watched the show, around half of whom were residents of Motor City.
Having previously redefined the Bottega Veneta image, all while still respecting its highly sophisticated identity and injecting a touch of sexy subversiveness, with his chic collections, this season the designer explored new territory by emphasizing a much more metropolitan silhouette, spotlighting denim, workwear, sporty urban pieces and several all-over white looks, including white work boots with yellow laces. Functional looks made up of voluminous parkas and blousons, shirt-jackets with pockets, and baggy pants, alternated with a series of short skirts offered tight or flared. A Marilyn dress with gaping cut-outs was worn with a pair of green sneakers channeling the brand's new favorite color.
There were also knit dresses in the same shade of grass green, including some versions covered with sustainable rubber pearls or plastic shells, while others were undulated for a 3D effect. In particular, the collection spotlighted numerous technical innovations and new materials. Parkas and denim jackets, for example, were woven through with metallic threads that allowed them to be sculpted. Here a collar stretched out above the model's shoulders, there sleeves bubbled and kept themselves in place.
The designer's research into new textures ran deep. Tracksuits, for example, looked like papier mâché. Lee brought terrycloth into day-to-day styles too, as in his bathrobe-coat and a dress which was knotted at the bust, just like a bath towel. The same technical terrycloth was also used to make sandals.
Finally, there was no lack of sparkle, from shimmering knitwear and sequined dresses to pantsuits in silvery or green metallic fabric that created a space-age aesthetic, as well as a range of other sparkly, varnished or translucent materials. And that's without even mentioning the new accessories, which will no doubt be a hit next year, including rubber boots in yellow or white, but also jewelry and some colorful bags.
From the start, Lee gave his audience an ultra-inventive collection prioritizing peculiar textures that play with the borders between laid-back style and playful glamor. The label also gave itself the luxury of intermittently reproducing images from its hedonistic Spring 2020 campaign, shot by Tyrone Lebon, on some pieces.
To mark the occasion of the runway show, the brand has inaugurated a pop-up shop in a disused fire station, at 1201 Bagley Street. This will remain open until January 16, offering a variety of products made with local partners, such as Underground Music Academy, Substudio, and Donut Shop.
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