Against Gaetano Pesce’s backdrop and building on the foundation collection of his debut season, creative director Matthieu Blazy continues to steer a definitive course through craft with his distinct, cross-generational cast.
Stories of clothing and character are explored by maker and wearer, an exchange that involves a sense of motion and emotion. The result is in the balance of something felt rather than just seen, in the quiet power of a more private pleasure. Here, elegance meets utility; there is an infiltration of the everyday with meaningful materials and techniques, things that could only be realised through the traditional craft of the artisans in the Italian ateliers. Simultaneously pragmatic and playful, subtly shifted archetypal garments are worn with ease by a cast of characters, bringing a sense of subversion to tradition, and of perversion to discretion, with movement, agency, sensuality and life: where have they come from and where are they going to? The cast continues to be on the move, and this season is more well- travelled than ever.
From the Italian bombshell in her everyday, photo-real plaid and chinos (archetypal garments are all printed, supple nubuck, startlingly realised) with her Allez Hop! bag slung over her shoulder, (a purposely traditional interpretation of the Intreccio is a motif of the sense of subversion and discreet perversion that runs throughout with contexts subtly changed); to the girl in her fur (again, it’s a print, this time mock fox printed on goat); then on to men and women in supposedly stripped down suiting, revealing in profile a more radical, recurring silhouette (here, the Boccioni inspiration is made sleeker and more sinuous, with a nod to the aerodynamic, also found in sculptural footwear); to women and men in another take on traditional tailoring subverted (a neo-noir idea almost of the past from the future, finds form in the Volcano silhouette, with its gentle funnel neck and thorough waist). Rigorous fabrications, all freshly and exclusively formulated for ultra-lightness, fullness, movement and texture, are found throughout for both men and women; from bold, full, knotted wool silk tailoring fabrics that are a new take on boucle, and the tension of twisted mouliné in contrasting colours, through to the ‘high sewing’ of mid-century flowers on ‘Chandelier’ dresses, their delicate embroideries layered on cotton crepe gauze over nylon sheer jersey – the tension of the past and future in one. A stratification of history also appears in knitted jacquards that appear like elaborate Futurist patterns. Layered with embroidery and beading, all placed by hand, each is idiosyncratic and unique, a conflation of past, present and future through craft.
An idea of a journey and emotional exploration is reinforced by the soundtrack to the show, specially composed by Afrodeutsche. Here, an individual’s gestures matter and it is perhaps this that defines what Bottega Veneta truly stands for: an emotional investment in objects for life – in both senses of the term.