At Bottega Veneta, Matthieu Blazy’s day has come. The 35-year-old Belgian interned at Balenciaga and worked at Raf Simons, Maison Margiela Artisanal, Celine, and Calvin Klein before landing as ready-to-wear design director at Bottega Veneta in 2020. That’s quite a pedigree, but he’s always been a behind-the-scenes guy. Then last November, following Daniel Lee’s abrupt exit, he was named creative director.
Lee left the brand when it was on an upward jag, which doesn’t make for the easiest or most obvious of transitions. But there’s no two ways about it, this was a terrific debut: a clean break from the recent past, confident, wide-ranging, and significantly more interesting than these pictures suggest.
The white tank top and jeans in look number one and the button-down and jeans of the look that followed? All made from leather. Bottega Veneta started as a handbag business and woven leather intrecciato is the house specialty, but the sublime nubuck of that tank top and jeans was a surprise—and a showcase for the thoughtfulness of the house’s new designer.
Backstage in the crush of celebrity well-wishers—Julianne Moore, Jacob Elordi, Neneh Cherry, and Blazy’s former boss Raf Simons, among them—he discussed his approach: “The idea was to bring back energy, a silhouette that really expressed motion, because Bottega is a bag company, so you go somewhere, you don’t stay home. This collection basically is a journey,” he continued. “There’s many characters, they all have places to go, they feel quite free.” Study these pictures and you’ll see what he means: The cropped flares were cut longer in front than in back, suggesting forward motion or speed, and the swooped backs of caban coats had a similar effect. Women will for sure go places in these tailored clothes.
Their simplicity and honesty, not to mention their luxury, make them value propositions: identifiable with no expiration date. Where the suiting was executed with precision, Blazy’s knitwear was more eclectic; shrunken patchwork sweaters had the charm of the handmade. The label’s recent success has been down to the It-ness of its bags and shoes. A lot will be riding on Blazy’s new interpretations.
With accessories, too, the emphasis was on the artisanal. The new Kalimero bag was woven in one piece with no seams, and the same goes for the thigh-high boots. It was tempting to see Easter eggs here and there—nods to work Blazy contributed to in the past, be it asymmetric drop waist dresses that evoked Celine or the Leavers lace slip dress in a yellow that called back to the famous slipcovered fur at Calvin. In that way, the collection was also about his journey. There will be many women and men happy to hitch a ride and follow where he goes next.
1 / 12
2 / 12
3 / 12
4 / 12
5 / 12
6 / 12
7 / 12
8 / 12
9 / 12
10 / 12
11 / 12
12 / 12
This story was first published on Vogue.com.