It's a tall order to stand out as a voice that champions understated luxury and a complete look aimed at grown women. But, season by season, Tomas Maier has been building an impressive following at Bottega Veneta by doing just that. The designer's spring show worked beautifully as a stripped-down statement of what he has to offer: a subtle beige-through-rose palette, ease aligned with elegance, and stunning detail in close-up.
Maier's first papery trenchdress hit a sophisticated note; it was a look that drew attention to the all-important accessories: the soft, woven leather bags and high sandals thatwith no need for extra doodads or trendy hardwareare the mark of quality that speaks for this house. From there, the show built, developing into a great collection of refined dresses. A couple of them revisited the tight-bodiced, molded-hip silhouette of Maier's last season, now detailed with tiny lines of vertical stitching or abstract quilting, and done up at the back with hook-and-eye fastenings. Better still, the designer followed through with a sequence of short plissé goddess dresses and liquid jersey numbers, some sexily suspended from plaited straps in back.
For a finale, Maier gave himself the task of thinking new sense into a summer evening gown. For a balmy midsummer night's party on the rolling lawn of somebody's estate, what could be more perfect than a billowy, ticking-stripe shirtdress and a pair of flat sandals? The fact that Maier conjured up an exact picture of his customer, and where she might wear his clothes, is a testament to his growing success.