BOTTEGA VENETA TURNS 50
AS THE REVERED ITALIAN LABEL MARKS ITS HALF CENTURY, CREATIVE DIRECTOR TOMAS MAIER TALKS ANNIVERSARIES, INSPIRATION AND WHAT KEEPS THE BRAND FRESH.
Fashion shows have long been celebrity affairs and Bottega Veneta’s SS17 presentation was no exception. Supermodels Eva Herzigová and Adriana Lima, a couple of Hadids, and even screen legend Lauren Hutton were all there – and that was just on the catwalk. “I really wanted to organise this special show to celebrate these two milestones that are particularly meaningful to me,” says the brand’s creative director, Tomas Maier, of the September show. “But also take the opportunity to widely gather contributors and supporters of Bottega Veneta.” The event marked 50 years of the Italian label – 15 of them with Maier at the helm. And while that might seem a long time in fashion years, German-born Maier is hardly struggling for inspiration. His collection featured 76 looks and included, for the first time, a mixture of men’s and women’s clothing. “Showing women and men together is an organic move that follows the evolution of my creative vision,” explains Maier, adding that he doesn’t have a specific person in mind when he designs. “I couldn’t pinpoint a Bottega Veneta woman or man; it’s more an attitude, a philosophy, an appreciation for excellence that is understated.” Besides the star power and the collection itself, the show was notable in that Maier took his closing bow with the whole team from the atelier – highlighting the importance he places on craftsmanship. “The first time I met the artisans shortly after I joined the company, I was very moved by their incredible passion for their work,” he says. “All Bottega Veneta products are the result of a unique collaboration between creativity and craftsmanship.” Following stints at Sonia Rykiel and Hermès, Maier was chosen to revive the brand in mid 2001 by Tom Ford, then creative director of the Gucci Group (then the label’s parent company). Maier immediately set about returning the brand to its roots. “When I joined the company, we didn’t have archives at all and therefore I immediately started to reconstruct them,” he recalls. “Today, we have archives of almost everything that was ever created since 1966, including sketches, bags and prototypes. It’s by protecting and honouring our past that we keep growing.” bottegaveneta.com/au
“WHEN I JOINED THE COMPANY, WE DIDN’T HAVE ARCHIVES AT ALL AND THEREFORE I IMMEDIATELY STARTED TO RECONSTRUCT THEM... IT’S BY HONOURING OUR PAST THAT WE KEEP GROWING.”