Bottega Veneta Newbie Daniel Lee Has Written the Playbook on Reinventing a Heritage House

Bottega Veneta has officially regained possession of its mojo. Today in Milan, new creative director Daniel Lee presented his coed runway debut for the Italian house, having written the playbook on how to reinvent a leather heritage label for a new generation.

The Celine alumnus started from the ground up. Unlike many designers, he avoided plumbing the archive for shoe silhouettes to spin. Rather, he favored a less conventional, more conceptual approach.

Bottega Veneta fall 2019
Bottega Veneta fall ’19
CREDIT: Shutterstock

He took the geometric motif of the classic Bottega intrecciato leather weave and translated it into an exaggerated checkered matelassé. It started on heeled women’s pumps and men’s laceups — both of which came with squoval toes and worked its way up the body on skirts, coats and bags.

Its suggestion of protection evolved into motocross boots and pants to match and developed into further pieces done in a leather mesh, which had the look of body armor or chainmail.

 Bottega Veneta fall 2019
Bottega Veneta fall ’19.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

While his design roots were palpable in an off-kilter aesthetic that is sure to attract erstwhile devotees of Celine’s Phoebe Philo era, the new Bottega has a harder and more directional edge that is sure to win it an additional fan base.

“The aim of this season’s collection,” said the show notes, “is a simple one, to evoke emotion — pleasure and joy, desire and beauty.” An emotional response extending beyond a purely aesthetic one is surely what every house aspires to. Crack that and you’ve already won half the battle.

Check out the full collection.

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