Pre-fall 2020 marks only the sixth Bottega Veneta collection designed by Daniel Lee, and yet, in just two years (Lee took the reins as creative director of the Italian house on July 1, 2018), he has charmed the fashion world with his distinctive vision, as well as establishing himself as the designer to watch and positioning Bottega Veneta as the brand to be seen in.
The hype surrounding the British designer is not undeserved. Testament to his talent, last December Lee scooped a record-breaking four honors at the Fashion Awards in London – including Designer of the Year, Womenswear Designer of the Year, and Accessories Designer of the Year, while the house itself received the esteemed Brand of the Year award – in what has gone down in fashion history as the most statuettes won by a designer in the ceremony’s three decade-long history.
This latest collection sees Lee further enchant with his mastery of shape and color. A sense of movement threaded the collection together (and served as a precursor to FW20 where fluidity of form took center stage). As a teenager, Lee was fascinated by dance; and so, his now signature second-skin dresses unravelled into cascading fringing, espousing the verve of a 1960s flapper with nonchalant ’90s grunge. One spectacular ribbed-knit turtleneck dress comes with a dramatic tasselled hemline and a dipped back that renders it destined for the dance floor. Pair it with the brand’s cult square-toes mules and a clutch bag in a contrasting pop of bubble-gum blue to nail the ‘New Bottega’ look. Or, to fully commit to this confident aesthetic, team it with the matching fringed pouch bag – a bold new iteration of the now iconic cloud-like clutch.
As well as elevating everyday pieces, Daniel Lee strives for of a sense of ease and comfort in his collections”
Although Bottega Veneta has become synonymous with the utmost in elegance, each collection is also infused with a cool, streetwear aesthetic. Here, it played out as sporty leather shorts, a glossy leather bomber jacket and in the evolution on the brand’s must-have chunky Chelsea boot.
As well as elevating everyday pieces, Lee strives for of a sense of ease and comfort in his collections, and indeed these are the very attributes that Bottega Veneta lends to our closets this season. This sense of down-to-earth cool permeated the brand’s beloved handbags too, with the addition of chunky chain hardware to the signature pouch clutch – allowing it to be slung nonchalantly over the shoulder. This hint of punk spirit emerged in footwear too, with a new leather platform sock boot, aptly named the ‘BV Bold’.
Straddling both minimalist simplicity (the clean lines and uncomplicated styling) and maximalist subversion (punchy colors and a singular vision), Lee succeeds in celebrating the house’s heritage, while making it relevant for today”
Those in search of softer moments will find them in the luxe knitwear, which also serves to remind us that this is a house rooted in refined, artisanal craftmanship. It is worth noting that Lee focused on knitwear at Central Saint Martins, where he did both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, hence his inclination for tactile fabrications. Take the new collection’s seemingly simple, white knitted slip dress, which has been crafted from 'Chalk' yarns finished in a textured effect. Upon closer inspection, the piece reveals itself to be woven with tonal coffee-colored flecks. An effortless, one-and-done piece that makes you look instantly more polished. Pair it with the stompy Chelsea boots by day and the provocative platforms by night, completing the look with a pair of the brand’s architectural silver hoops.
Straddling both minimalist simplicity (the clean lines and uncomplicated styling) and maximalist subversion (punchy colors and a singular vision), Lee succeeds in celebrating the house’s heritage, while making it relevant for today. His designs are completely of-the-moment, but are also the kind of classic pieces that will retain their appeal for years to come.
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