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Just in from Milan: Bottega Veneta review

By Tamsin Crimmens

Tomas Maier has a knack for capturing the mood of the moment while retaining the distinctness of the Bottega brand. So it was no surprise that the dark, concise, strong collection he showed this morning did just that.

‘The collection is about proportion, precision, ease, and the simple beauty of the material,’ is how Maier, the label’s creative director, put it.

The silhouettes were architectural, with flat, square shoulders and skirts whose pleats folded outwards like cogs on an industrial machine. The colours were dark or intense: black, slate, smoke and pearl were punctured with red, yellow and curry-orange. And the fabrics ranged from heavy flannels to felted wools, leather, silk, satin and lacquered straw.

This was not a pretty collection. Those gentle tea-dresses he showed last season had been replaced by more defiantly strong and overtly conceptual pieces – boiled black wool, raw edges, densely woven coloured panels and wrinkled black satin recalled something of a Comme des Garcons sensibility, but here, as with everything Maier touches, refined to the extreme.

If all this sounds too tricky, it wasn’t. Well, not in most cases. One jutting red shouldered coat was a piece that was hard to imagine a Bottega fan wearing. But there were more than enough slippery satins to offset the sometimes-brutal architecture of the tailoring and because Maier loves women and so clearly respects them as intelligent, self-posessed, strong beings, there was an approachability and believability in what he offered.

That, and some really fabulous hair and make-up – thanks to Guido Paulo and Pat McGrath (Lana Turner frizzed-curls meets Guy Bourdin red lips) summed up Bottega Woman for autumn / winter 2013.

See all the catwalk looks

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