Tomas Maier's remedy for breaking the downward spiral of depression is irresistible glamour. "With all that's going on, I just switched off the TV news and thought about designing appetizing clothes to make women feel pretty and attractive," he said before the show. "Let's get out of this!" That rallying cry made for possibly his most resolved and beautiful collection yet—gently done, yet spiked with a new undercurrent of eroticism.
It began with simple rectangles of cloth—folded into ivory envelope coats or pieced into fluid charmeuse dresses—and then built momentum through perfectly cut sheaths. One number—essentially a single square of black wool with armholes, wrapped to fall in a ruffle in the front while dipping asymmetrically over the shoulder—looked as if it had been wound around Sasha Pivovarova almost spontaneously. Of course, there's more than spareness of cut going on here. The desirabilty is in Maier's fabrics, some of which are so refined even the camera can't pick up the nuances. The second look out—a cream coat over a strapless dress—passed within inches of the noses of the audience, but who knew the coat was covered with a fine layer of organza, or realized the dress was not a matte cotton canvas but leather? Only the woman who wore it, or someone close enough to stroke her. Which is Bottega Veneta's not-for-public-consumption code in a nutshell.
And yet: This is a time when even the stealthily wealthy need an extra push to open their finely crafted intrecciato crocodile purses. That's where drop-dead sex and glamour step in. Lingerie corseting built into the rib section of covered-up jersey dresses, outlining braless breasts, did that in an outrageously classy way. And then came a sequence of pleated goddess dresses, catching the air as the girls swept past. They were superb.