Milan Women’s Fashion Week F/W 2019 Part 1: Bottega Veneta

These are the good seasons. When the Fall/Winter shows are on and the first signs of Spring are in the air. Birds chirping and editors donning new their new clothes and not their old winter ones. While New York was icy, Milan makes us feel warm.

Bottega Veneta F/W 2019

Fashion loves a debut and Daniel Lee’s at Bottega Veneta has been masterly set up. Take the following ingredients: Just the right amount of buzz around his pre-collections shown to a select group of editors, retailers licking their pencils, François-Henri Pinault making promising predictions about the brand at his financial results Kering press conference, a new ad campaign bathed in natural light showing mostly faces and plastered all over Milan and then a beautiful setting at Arco della Pace in Parco Sempione on a sunny day. The stage was set for Daniel Lee and his new designs. And he delivered a directional collection breaking with everything that Bottega Veneta stood for in the past. The refined older lady was gone and the new young individual woman was ushered in plus a strongly tailored men’s offering with lots of black leather. Lee was out for a fashion quake with an exclamation mark and he delivered.

Black leather moment?

Lee anchored his show in black leather, which is trending on all directional catwalks worldwide. He opened with a black leather tank dress closely followed by a quilted coat in the same material with interesting triangle closure details, tuxedo shirt pleats in leather and laser cut leather squares on skirts.

Black leather as seen by Daniel Lee for his first Bottega Veneta runway collection

The men’s wear?

The first look on an Asian model was a black one-button suit in expensive black gabardine with high-waisted pants, see through orange nylon turtleneck and an interesting inside-out breast pocket detail. It showed off his deft hand at tailoring and looked completely new. Considering Balenciaga is in the same Kering stable, the oversize shoulder jackets and coats on men looked a bit too familiar. His new padded square men’s brogues were stunning.

Bottega Veneta’s new men’s silhouette

The best part?

The knitwear was drop dead gorgeous and innovative. The twisting, draping and intersecting of scarf and shawl-length strands showed off a complicated construction but hung nicely on the bodies and looked simple and sexy. And best of all completely new to the canon of Bottega Veneta. Also, the built-in gold chain element was hot.

Lee’s fresh play on knitwear for the Bottega Veneta F/W 2019 collection

What didn’t work so well?

The slightly Lara Croft looking motorcycle leather combos looked a bit stiff and heavy. And while maybe that was the idea, it didn’t look like the ateliers were finding a touch to make the sturdy skins look fluid, which is expected from a luxury house. Also, the heavy Chelsea boot on most women’s looks felt a bit too clunky.

The futurist biker woman of Daniel Lee

Claus-Dietrich Lahrs?

The CEO who is known for his chic suits with shirt and tie looked loosened up with a suit and white T-shirt and sneakers greeting his guests. “Starting February 25th, all the clothes and accessories in our boutiques will be only from Daniel Lee. And we will start updating the stores worldwide very soon,” explained an upbeat Lahrs before the show started where one overexcited editor mistook him for a house PR and asked for his seat. Lahrs cooly directed him in the right direction. The devil, aeh, the boss is in the detail.