WEST DAKOTA BRINGS COLLINA STRADA TO LIFE AT THE MET
Bottega Veneta changed the fashion world last week by announcing that it was separating from designer Daniel Lee, who had reinvigorated the Italian leather goods house known for its "discreet wealth" in just over three years. The abrupt announcement meant that the fashion world wondered if Daniel Lee would go to other pastures, but also aroused some curiosity about the future of the brand, which was one of the pillars of Kering's success story during the pandemic. (The conglomerate's stock exchanges fell immediately by 2.5% after Daniel Lee's departure announced before diving by another 1% after the next day's articles. It may not seem like much but for the Pinaults, the family that owns Kering, it amounts to losing $860 million of their fortune according to journalist Christina Binkley.)
On November 15, the brand announced who would be Daniel Lee's successor: Matthieu Blazy, who had been Bottega's design director since June 2020. "Matthieu Blazy is an extraordinarily talented individual and I am proud and excited to entrust him with the creative direction of our luxury house," said Leo Rongone, CEO of Bottega Veneta, in a press release. "Bottega Veneta has always been synonymous with an artisanal signature and special creativity. Matthieu's appointment will push the modern relevance of our brand further and accelerate its growth, while preserving the values that are at the heart of Bottega Veneta." For Bottega, Daniel Lee was a "collaboration". While Matthieu Blazy is appointed.
The choice of his replacement also tells us more about the nature of Daniel Lee's departure. Reading between the lines, it seems clear that the release was not related to the brand's performance or aesthetics; there was something other than hype clothes and hit-accessories.WWD published an article on Wednesday, November 10 that suggests that Daniel Lee's approach tended to alienate his colleagues and led to several departures. Despite everything, financial success suggests that the products themselves worked and it is understandable that Kering does not want to destabilize the aesthetics that has made the label one of the most sought-after in the fashion world. And naming Matthieu Blazy, who is very familiar with Daniel Lee's New Bottega - "he knows Bottega Veneta codes and understands Daniel Lee's additions," Christina Binkley remarked on Twitter - suggests that the management will remain the same. It remains to be seen whether the brand will continue its eccentric marketing efforts: the zines, the techno destination for shows and, to the great dismay of the fashion industry, no Instagram.
What fashion fans must expect is the public coronation of a fashion industry veteran with fantastic references that are likely to make Bottega Veneta's clothes shine even more. Matthieu Blazy, who is a protégé of Raf Simons and who designed for Calvin Klein while Raf was at the head of the brand, has a reputation for being a designer for designers. His name became known when he worked at Martin Margiela during the pre-Galliano period, even if at that time the house's rule was not to reveal the names of the designers. (Suzy Menkes broke this tradition by posting an image of Matthieu Blazy with Raf Simons by identifying him as the designer of the Margiela Artisanal label, which is the avant-garde house's response to sewing). Indeed, fashion commentators on social networks - especially those belonging to HF Twitter - could now have even more things to enjoy at Bottega.
What about Daniel Lee's future? There are already rumors that he would be ready to join Phoebe Philo, with whom he worked at Céline, for his newly launched brand. Given the success he had at Bottega Veneta, there are also murmurs about the launch of his own Daniel Lee brand.