When the pandemic upended the way fashion has been working for decades, many brands saw it as an opportunity to create new systems, rules and methods that worked better for them. But not many brands have come close to the big Kering ones when it comes to imagination and experimentation with show formats and schedules—in recent months, we’ve seen Gucci’s film festival and Balenciaga’s video game, while Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent have both decided to show their Spring collections in December, much closer to when the products would actually hit the shelves.
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The former was actually staged and filmed in October in front of a small audience in London, but has only been released to the public now. Titled Salon 01 in a nod to the old salon shows of yesteryears, Daniel Lee’s latest Bottega Veneta outing featured no showy sets or flashy production. Instead, it was a pared-back, lo-fi affair with a solid analog component countering the show’s digital dissemination—three books chronicling Lee’s inspirations, a composite of creative works centred around our relationship to clothes, and the final results of Lee’s design journey. There was also a spoken-word record made exclusively by Neneh Cherry in which the singer ruminates on the importance, the joys, and the power of clothes.
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As for the clothes that Lee showed, they were extremely simple in silhouette but highly tactile in fabrication—the effect being both spare and rich at the same time. In a nod to the times we live in now, the collection was an extrapolation of and an expansion on sweater dressing—not sweatpant dressing—resulting in an aesthetic of utter coziness without any sloppiness. Think WFH staples like hoodies, easy dresses and pyjama suits but tailored slim and rendered in soft, lush knits. The overriding vibe leaned towards the graphic, modern ‘60s with short, sharp pieces for her while for him, it was mostly lean on top and wide and fluid below.
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What was new in terms of Lee’s repertoire for the House so far were the looks that conveyed qualities of the homely and the homespun—namely the crochet dresses dotted with naive-looking patterns. Towards the end were slinky dresses ruched and draped close to the body—comfort and chic in one look—and standout dresses in pink and lime cut lean and languid, and made of the same materials as dressing robes just begging to be stroked.
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