Bottega Veneta

2_POSITIVO-03

Tomas Maier took us to Milanโ€™s Palazzo Archinto for his menโ€™s and womenโ€™s Spring 2018 show this morning. Once a residence, it is now a schoolโ€”the girl boarders watched with apparent delight through the open windows of their third-floor dormitoryโ€”and the location seemed purposefully chosen to convey feelings of hope for the future. Maier has noticed that things arenโ€™t so great out there right now; the worldโ€™s prospects look sort of bleak. Backstage afterward, he said he went with color and embellishment this seasonโ€”and there was certainly no shortage of eitherโ€”because of their optimistic properties. Bottega Veneta happens to be opening its biggest store in the world on New Yorkโ€™s Madison Avenue in January, and these will be the clothes and accessories on display from day one, so there was also a bit of savvy retail strategy at play here.

A sophisticated sense of color is one of Maierโ€™s gifts as a designer. Lauren Huttonโ€”sitting front row in a dusty pink โ€™40s dress from his last collectionโ€”and her similarly attired seatmates were living proof. For Spring, he took a liberated approach to color. As an example, consider the deft manner in which he combined a blush suede coat, a chartreuse silk shirt, and a lilac suede skirt. The barely-there shade of a peach-rose silk trench was especially lovely worn over a paillette-strewn dress. And the color therapy was equal-opportunity. Men wore green suede shoes and carried lavender leather totes. Maier noted that menโ€™s fashion is changing; they arenโ€™t playing it quite as safe as in the past, though he smartly reserved the metal grommeting and jewel stud embellishments (the collectionโ€™s other big story) for the ladies. ( Nicole Phelps)

Evening and day pieces alike got the embellishment treatment. It could range from an accent, seen in the pocket grommeting of a โ€™60s-style skirtsuit, to full-on razzmatazz, as in the case of a floor-length dress with channels of multicolored jewels from neck to hem. Shapes were mostly simple and straightforward as a balance to all the adornment. Still, he was playing against type with some of the fringing. Subtler interpretations of the look, like an apricot calf-leather trench, intricately worked with nailhead studs, and a jean jacket with kaleidoscopic snakeskin patchworking, showcased the extraordinary craftsmanship of the houseโ€™s workshops and Maierโ€™s innate sense of elegance.

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