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Bottega Veneta Winter 2024
Bottega Veneta Winter 2024Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta’s Latest Collection Offered Clothes Galore

The Winter 2024 Bottega Veneta collection was about a celebration of “a sense of allure and confidence in the pragmatic, utilitarian and purposeful”

Lead ImageBottega Veneta Winter 2024Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta has become synonymous with craft – despite the fact that Bottega Veneta actually just means “Venetian Shop”. That’s because what Bottega – as its colloquially known – excels at is making things, and making things better. They not only use buttery calfskin, they shred it to weave it into a pliant leathery fabric that feels like silk, a technique that has always been achingly expensive because it winds up using twice as much material as a plain piece of hide would.

Craft is something that Matthieu Blazy is enamoured by – his clothes explore and exalt technique, their final forms often dictated by the methodologies behind their creation. They’re too numerous to list, but have added up to a dichotomous idea of Bottega Veneta, an aesthetic embracing of the much-maligned idea of eclectic, inspiration scuttling out in all directions. There’s an expertise in leather at the core, always – and that woven leather that Bottega call intrecciato is in great evidence, as has been leather printed to elevate humdrum items – jeans, an agile sweater, a pinstriped shirt – to the level of something extraordinary. But the ethos expands to knitting, fabric treatments, embroideries and craft too odd and arcane to even properly articulate.

Case in point, this time, there were glass cacti – crafted from Murano, a material of traditional Venetian decoration – peppering the Bottega Veneta show space. Those symbols of hardy endurance and survival, here were made fragile and precious. They were a metaphor for what was going on inside the clothes. This collection was about a celebration of the everyday, of the practical and, maybe, even the boring. Blazy put it more poetically – “a sense of allure and confidence in the pragmatic, utilitarian and purposeful,” he stated. “The simple act of dressing.”

There was also the idea of rebirth, symbolised by those cacti – something hopefully growing from something barren. Last season isn’t exactly a barren place, but there’s an echo in the continual renewal that characterises fashion, ceaselessly blossoming with new ideas. There were other ideas that chimed with that: checked weaves were inspired by notebook pages, synched to the idea of recollection; materials were heated and moulded, bearing memories of other forms within their own architecture. Accessories were also purposely old-fashioned, as if hand-me-downs – grandmotherly bags, fatherly Oxford shoes. The invite last season was a watch with a compass in place of the face – celebrating the globe-trotting nature of that collection. This time, the face was a polished, antiqued mirror. It resembled an heirloom, but also reflected back the everyday through an antiqued sphere.

In short, this Bottega collection offered clothes galore, but clothes with a flourish. The decoration of previous seasons was stripped back – a little – to give a new sense of dynamic energy, while equally exalting the processes. Rather than those processes being the end-all, however, they were an accessory to life. And there was a new focus on fabrication – which, in a sense, is what that intrecciato becomes. Bouclé, cashmere, fil coupés that resembled flames licking around the figure, or scraps of fabric worked into something new, the same way Blazy blended together ideas into fresh clothes, for now. Ceaselessly crafting – which is what fashion demands, but what designers must embrace and, ultimately, love.