Bottega Veneta has enjoyed spectacular sales at a recent series of
transatlantic trunk shows, suggesting that Tomas Maier may have licked one of fashion's most persistent problems. Price resistance? Pshaw! In his Milan showroom, the designer displayed, among other things, a $400,000 set of "herb-dyed" crocodile luggage. The artisanal detail is typical of Maier's work for BV, and other similar touches were evident throughout: the cotton lining in a pair of shoes made of velvet-soft perforated kid; the sterling-silver stitching on a tote; or the lizard engraved on the sole of a flip-flop. Sometimes, the strongest status symbol is one that no one else can see.
After an austere fall, Maier was looking for some sunshine and light, and he cited the primary-hued optimism of the color-field paintersStella, Kelly, Rothkoas his inspiration. The artist's hand was obvious in stripes hand-painted on vintage leather bags or printed on a white cashmere vest. The effortless smartness of the collection was defined by a series of cotton-poplin jackets. Unlined but tailored, they were a little shrunken ("to elongate the legs" claimed Maier), and added a slightly twisted edge to the buoyant preppiness of striped shirts and white jeans. BV's trademark intrecciato woven leather was used to trim the pockets of Maier's new denimsand to adorn a steering wheel cover for the man who insists on maximum coordination.