MILAN, Italy – Since Daniel Lee took over at Bottega Veneta, tickets to the brand’s fashion shows have become some of the most sought after at Milan Fashion Week. Forgoing inviting any influencers or celebrities (save for musician Dev Hynes and Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver), Bottega Veneta instead keeps its shows intimate and small, opting to fill its front row with editors and friends of the brand, such as the woman behind the viral Instagram account @newbottega, created solely to showcase Lee’s creations.
Since joining the brand in 2016, Lee, who previously worked at Celine under Phoebe Philo, made the formerly under-the-radar brand become one of the most coveted in the world, with select items – specifically assessories, such as the ‘pouch’ handbag and shoes – selling out worldwide instantly. The hype around select pieces, something no doubt heightened by Instagram, has created such demand that the likes of Gabriel Waller, who sells hard to find designer items via an Instagram account, picked up celebrity clients such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hailey Bieber, who were, just like everyone else, coming up empty-handed. Waller, who is based in Sydney, was also a guest at Bottega’s show.
With the whole world watching, Lee could’ve created a spectacle for his fall Milan Fashion Week show, taking a leaf out of the late Karl Lagerfeld’s sets for Chanel or, more recently, Alessandro Michele’s dressing room carousel for Gucci. But instead, the 34-year-old decided to strip everything back, including the clothes. Instead of debuting another round of instantly recognisable Bottega Veneta accessories or adding new variations of his pouch bag to send the masses into a frenzy, Lee showcased a paired-back collection filled with elegant but wearable designs, which wouldn’t be amiss on the runway of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand, The Row.
Milan’s most popular model, Kaia Gerber, walked in ’90s-influenced minimal suiting, while thick turtlenecks and structured coats were balanced out by sequined dresses and fringing. Latex-look fabrics, oversized leather coats and leather was smattered throughout.
Accessories wise, the cowboy boots will fly off shelves as soon as the collection drops and so too will likely the fluffy black and butter bags with tassles – they’re Bottega Veneta after all.