Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Bottega Veneta had a tough new energy, where a sensual undercurrent bubbled beneath
There was a resolute toughness to Daniel Lee’s first collection for Bottega Veneta, shown in a stark, clear-plastic tunnel in Milan earlier this year: hefty leather boots, biker pants and a supersized take on the house’s signature intrecciato weave were a declaration that the alumnus of Phoebe Philo’s then-accented Céline was not simply treading old ground.
Beneath, though, a softer touch: “a celebration of freedom, self-expression and sensuality,” Lee said of the collection in the accompanying notes. A distant sense of the latter bubbled throughout: mirrored shirt dresses clung to the body, open to the navel; the décolletage was exposed throughout, an apparent reference to the women of Renaissance portraiture, and because “it’s a part of the body most people are comfortable exposing”.
It was knitwear, though, which proved the most seductive: twisting knit dresses wrapped around the body like an embrace, others were double-layered, or edged with thick golden chains. Ribbed knitwear – often raised high at the neck – was a recurrent signature (Lee himself wore a ribbed jumper for his runway bow) and made for some of the season’s most covetable pieces: this ribbed, cotton-knit dress, cut out to expose the back, seems to embody the easy sensuality of Bottega Veneta’s brave new epoch.
Hair: Hirokazu Endo using Bumble & Bumble. Make-up: Mattie White using Lord & Berry. Model: Priscilla Cheseaux at Storm Management. Casting: Troy Casting at D+V Management. Set design: Laura Little. Manicure: Robbie Tomkins at Premier. Photographic assistants: Ellen Egan. Styling assistants: Priyanka Makwana, Sarah Carone, Grace Naef and Antoine Caballero. Set-design assistants: Frank Styles.