In the nearly three years since Tomas Maier took over at Bottega Veneta, he's been inching methodically forwardfrom explaining the intricacies of the house bags and accessories to developing a full-fledged clothing line to go with them. What began as a few luxe sporty sweaters and jackets kept on a rack in the back is now a 60-piece collection, which Maier presented on models clustered on a series of podiums in the company showroom. "It isn't like normal ready-to-wear," Maier explained. "I had the concept of designing clothes like accessories. Everyone has their own personality, and will pick things out to wear in their own way."
Maier's aesthetic is clean and ageless in spirit, with luxury worked in as a result of the extraordinary handcraft that goes into producing exclusive fabrics, prints, and finishes. He used salt-and-pepper baby tweed for coats, tunics, and pants; cashmere for double-layered cardigan coats in beige and chartreuse; and Deco-derived swirly and geometric prints for A-line skirts and drop-waisted dresses. The effect was feminine and modern, but it was still the accessories that kept the audience circling for a closer look. Most want-able are the new bags: a multicolored Mondrian-esque weave, a framed croc in poison green reissued from the sixties, and the chunky, rounded minaudières studded with tiger's-eye.