The fashion world was curious when luxury Italian label Bottega Veneta named Daniel Lee their creative director back in June. The Bradford-born, Central-Saint-Martins-educated visionary was considered to be somewhat of an elusive figure — especially with a complete absense from social media.
According to a statement release by the brand, Lee’s aim heading artistic direction is to “maintain the codes of the house — craftsmanship, quality and sophistication — while imbuing them with a new perspective and modernity." More concretely, he’s made it clear that he wants to push Bottega Veneta’s ready-to-wear lines in order to move with the ever-changing market.
After debuting his first collection with the brand at Milan Fashion Week for autumn/winter 2019, we now have a better sense of his design identity — but who is the man behind Bottega Veneta's new chapter?
The British creative is no stranger to the luxury fashion world and has worked with names such as Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Donna Karan during his career trajectory. Prior to his latest appointment at Bottega Veneta, the designer headed ready-to-wear at Celine during the Phoebe Philo era and his minimalist, understated-chic aesthetic was impressively complementary to Celine’s former Creative Director. However as made evident at his debut show for the brand at this past Milan Fashion Week for autumn/winter 2019, Lee certainly has a signature style of his own.
With his background in womenwear design, this is the Brit’s first venture into menswear. His inaugural collection was simple with an element of quiet luxury, mixing tailoring and sportswear elements, featuring a muted colour palette and returning to the foundations of savoir faire in leather goods for which Bottega Veneta is so celebrated. Opting for timeless elegance to define his catwalk debut, he incorporated knitwear, statement dresses and Bottega Veneta’s staple intrecciato weaving technique in the leather garments.
He has admitted his great respect for his predecessor as Creative Director, Tomas Maier, whose tenure at Bottega Veneta lasted 17 years and to whom the brand owes much for its current identity as a luxury fashion house. Can Lee reinvigorate the brand, giving it a modernist, even millennial, spin, whilst staying true to its essence? From what we’ve seen so far, he’s right on track to doing just that.
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