"I can't show you a stretch pant and a T-shirt." That was Tomas Maier in the Bottega Veneta showroom today, presenting the label's Resort collection for 2015. Some designers do take a straightforward approach to in-between seasons like Resort and Pre-Fall, but Maier's not one of them. BV's creative director is as intrigued by process as he is by the final product, a fact that his new clothes crystalized.
He started with the idea of bleach and how laundering a garment in the stuff can fade it in random ways. Extending that notion, he used a process called corrosion to remove color from pieces in graphic patterns—bleach stripes at the neckline of a crisp cotton shirt, a white floral motif on a lilac top. Other times, the actual substance of a material was changed, as in the case of a dévoré blouse and a jacquard flower-print lamé miniskirt.
Maier's trick was that nothing felt contrived. Industrially washed for a faded effect, his knit sweaters were utterly simple, yet completely divine. And that enviable sense of simplicity extended into his evening dresses. No ball gowns or bustiers here, of course. Maier's long dresses are modeled after tank tops and T-shirts. The ease is built right in; the drama comes from the way he corroded and then over-dyed them. One featured a bold grid pattern, another an abstract, oversize floral. Perhaps the best part: When they go into production, no two dresses will ever be 100 percent the same. "I like that," Maier said, "and it's good for the customer."