Tomas Maier’s final collection for Bottega Veneta goes back to basic with the idea of a cube. jacquie ang examines its significance
bottega veneta’s latest Maison wasn’t just another store opening. Situating the third — and biggest — flagship boutique in New York inspired Tomas Maier to dream up his Autumn/winter 2018 collection, revolving around the denizens of the city that never sleeps. “New Yorkers have a real bravery and boldness,” he mused on how they own their freedom of expression. “Nothing stops them. Nothing seems impossible.”
With their multi-faceted lifestyles in mind, he conceptualised a 66look collection for the Bottega Veneta man and woman. “I was thinking about the way of life in the city, which goes from one extreme to another,” he shared of its palette of rich colours. “A New Yorker is not afraid to stand out in the crowd.”
He proposed suits for women in punchy hues for work, while evening called for smouldering numbers including Gigi Hadid’s finale gown in velvet and lace. Statement pieces made dressing up effortless. Consider Adwoa Aboah’s fringed wool coat or Sijia Kang’s striking tiger stripes on an oversized wool coat that’s bonded with satin for a sumptuous robe-like feel. That’s the thing about Bottega Veneta — true luxury lies in the subtle, sometimes hidden, details. Linus Wordemann’s suede jacket sported a rugged patina, but its interior was just as exceptional with multicoloured shearling.
Maier’s 24/7 wardrobes also recommended versatile onestep dressing. The show opened with pyjama silks you can wear on an evening out about town, or lounge around in your apartment, such as the home depicted in the runway set in the American Stock Exchange Building. (Bottega Veneta celebrated the opening of the Maison by moving its presentation from Milan to Manhattan for one season.)
Maier collaborated with Tony Award-winning scenic designer Scott Pask on the space, which was decorated with contemporary American sculpture, iconic midcentury Italian pieces such as chairs by Gio Ponti and Gianfranco Frattini’s “Sesann” chairs for Cassini, as well as Bottega Veneta’s home collection. The eclectic mix echoes the interior design of Bottega Veneta’s new home at 740 Madison Avenue. “The Maison is inspired by the city where it’s located, but it’s filled with Italianmade products and even Italian
art,” he explained. “The idea of provenance is so important in the world of Bottega Veneta. The brand comes from a specific place that tells you a story. I wanted to bring that idea of a sense of a place to our new store.”
Which brings us to architecture, a subject close to Maier’s heart. His father was a practitioner, and he would have been one too if he wasn’t in fashion. That’s why Bottega Veneta’s advertising campaigns are often located in world-renowned buildings, such as Lee House 2 for AW17.
The cornerstone for this collection is the cube, an imaginative extraction from New York’s emblematic structures. “It’s like a brick.” he explained. “We use it to build the foundation.” Literally. He maximised the simplicity of its geometric form, creating the graphic guises with surreal shifting perspectives on intarsia dresses, cashmere crew necks and bags such as The Lauren 1980 and Knot Clutch. The cube transformed jewellery into miniature art sculptures.
Other interpretations included familiar plaids with ingenious renditions. Windowpane checks were depicted in top-stitching on David Trulik’s jacket with a delicate silver chain embroidery that endowed a blink-and-miss twinkle on tailored pieces, to underscore the brand’s renowned stealth sophistication.
But this was Maier’s last collection for the house. On June 14, 2018, news broke that the creative director would part ways with Bottega Veneta, where he’d spent the last 17 years steering the once sleepy artisanal goods workshop into a luxury powerhouse. “When I joined the company in 2001, the house was losing its identity and roots. We didn’t have any archives at all,” he shared with Prestige in a 2016 interview.
Starting with a small collection of bags and shoes in SS02, he went on to introduce readyto-wear in 2005, branched out into jewellery as well as homeware and furniture in 2006, launched the first unisex timepiece BVX in 2010, and conceived the first fragrance in 2011. Along the way, he also changed the rules of fashion advertising with The Art of The Collaboration, working with a different photographer every season for the past 16 years. To ensure centuries of traditional arts, technical know-how and cultural heritage had a future, he established La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri di Bottega Veneta, a school to train next-gen leather goods artisans.
Bottega Veneta now spans 270 directly operated stores worldwide. Its new mega-maison, which houses the entire Bottega Veneta universe, including the Home and Furniture collections, serves as a bittersweet reminder of how far the German designer has taken the brand. After the long journey to worldwide acclaim, home is really where the heart is.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: SILK PYJAMAS TO WEAR OUT OR LOUNGE IN; A WOOL COAT AS OPULENT AS A SATIN ROBE; SILVER CHAIN EMBROIDERY LENDS SPARKLE TO A JACKET; THE TAMBURA TOTE; SUEDE LOAFERS CHANNEL LUXE IN JEWEL HUES; OPPOSITE PAGE: THE SET OF BOTTEGA VENETA’S AW18 RUNWAY SHOW; TOMAS MAIER