January 12, 2014 Milan
Such an easy little word to sum up a collection that was, on the surface at least, as simple as a pair of pull-on track pants. But how disappointing would it be if a Bottega collection was "simple"? Too much effort goes into making these clothes effortless, creating their worn textures, their patina of use. And it's that utilitarian edge that makes them such an anomaly in the world of luxury retailing. Maier likes his clothes to work. He might use suede for a shirt jacket and matching pants, as he did today, but the result still looks like a delivery man's uniform—well, a four-figure version of one.
The fact that Maier chose chartreuse for that outfit highlighted his contrariness, another of the designer's signatures. The collection was distinguished by shades of green, a notoriously hard sell for men. And for a silhouette, Maier favored a blouson with an extra-wide ribbed waist, likely to err on the unforgiving side. While such details may not have been as suggestive or evocative as some of his more scintillating efforts, they were nevertheless seeded with the strangeness that makes Bottega so fascinating. In this context, even Beyoncé singing "Superpower" on the soundtrack sounded a little… odd.
That's because Maier himself may exude complete control, but he's partial to a sense of chaos bubbling beneath the surface. Here, for instance, dip-dyed knitwear actually looked more stained than anything else. The hems and cuffs of jackets and shirts suggested a similar unhappy accident. An argyle knit slid sideways, like it was being tugged hard. Such clothes hinted at curious incidents in the not-quite-what-it-seems world of Bottega Veneta.