Bottega Veneta

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Tomas Maier took us to Milan’s Palazzo Archinto for his men’s and women’s Spring 2018 show this morning. Once a residence, it is now a school—the girl boarders watched with apparent delight through the open windows of their third-floor dormitory—and the location seemed purposefully chosen to convey feelings of hope for the future. Maier has noticed that things aren’t so great out there right now; the world’s prospects look sort of bleak. Backstage afterward, he said he went with color and embellishment this season—and there was certainly no shortage of either—because of their optimistic properties. Bottega Veneta happens to be opening its biggest store in the world on New York’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 Maier’s gifts as a designer. Lauren Hutton—sitting front row in a dusty pink ’40s dress from his last collection—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 men’s fashion is changing; they aren’t playing it quite as safe as in the past, though he smartly reserved the metal grommeting and jewel stud embellishments (the collection’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 ’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 house’s workshops and Maier’s innate sense of elegance.

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