A few weeks ago a package arrived from Bottega Veneta. Inside was a trio of books: two dedicated to the summer 2023 collection, and a third which reproduced a scrapbook of Kate Moss images that designer Matthieu Blazy made when he was still a teenager in the late 1990s. “Kate Moss was my first Google Research,” Blazy wrote on its opening page. “This fanzine is a tribute to [her] and the pages of a binder I did back then that defined my coming of age.”
All these years later, Moss still oozes a kind of insider cool. Linking your label to hers, as he did when he cast her for his summer show last September, is smart business. Really, though, what the book does effectively is show us that Blazy’s Bottega Veneta is a brand with heart. That doesn’t always come across in the luxury sphere, where things are buffed to such a high polish there’s little room for sentiment, but a Zoom preview in which Blazy talked through a series of pre-fall looks telegraphed the same vibe:
“At the end of the day, we had a lot of pleasure just making clothes that we want to wear ourselves,” he said. “But it’s not just me. It’s the studio, and it’s the woman who works on fabric.” As it has been from his start at Bottega Veneta, material is a major preoccupation. The boxy t-shirt and denim pencil skirt pictured in the first photo are actually leather, but additionally the leather button-downs that have fast become brand icons have also been made in silk so they’re wearable year-round.
Blazy said the development of the collection was a reaction to what he sees as a preponderance of heavy fabrics in the market. “To build up volume, it’s easy to take a heavy fabric and sculpt; we did the opposite, we tried to lighten everything in order for people to move and not be constrained at all.” That came across most clearly in a pair of special dresses, one with volume at the hips created by exposed fabric knots, and another with slits cut into puffy sleeves that draped from high shoulders.
That quest for lightness doesn’t mean the clothes lacked indulgences. A bronze sequin coat is bound to feel as good to the touch as it is attractive to gaze upon. Same for a lilac crushed velvet dress with a cool zippered neckline. The ultimate indulgence may be the leather jeans woven in the house intreccio style; this season they come in a silver chrome. They’re trophies of a kind. Other Bottega Veneta customers might be tempted by the cozy hand knits, one of of which features Blazy’s dog John John. Heart on sleeve.