Tomas Maier put an unexpected crimp in a trying day during Milan Fashion Week, choosing an inconvenient location and an odd organization for his Bottega Veneta presentation. As models strolled a continuous runway loop, the audience was expected to walk through taking notescreating visibility problems and a general sense of confusion, for an already harried crowd.
Bottega Veneta is certainly not the first Italian leather-goods company to aim at building a ready-to-wear business, but this hybrid solution (was it a bag exhibition or a fully fledged fashion show?) didn't work. The bags, of course, are Meier's strongest suit. This season, the notable updates are gilded versions of the signature woven leathers and a red-and-white checkered bag on a red plastic chain. They were toted by models wearing Maier's idea of luxe sportswear for the superrich traveler. That means simple sportswearbeige raincoat, wide-leg pant, acid-yellow zipper top, and flats. Or beige jersey shirtdresses with a flare in the skirt. He jazzed that up by bringing in a gold leather blazer and coat, wrists full of gold bangles, and necklaces in the form of lanyards dangling gold hardware. Later in the parade, printed smocks, patchwork peasant dirndls, and blue-and-red sundresses appeared. Shown this way, it was hard to give Bottega's quality and detail the close inspection it deserves, much less understand the collection's coherence. That's a pity, and in the trajectory of this brand's success, it's something that needs to be resolved for next season.