As many in the fashion set mourned the departure of Phoebe Philo from Celine, one new appointment offered optimism regarding the possibility of filling that void. Enter 32-year-old British designer, Daniel Lee. The Central Saint Martins graduate worked with Philo at Celine for seven years, ultimately earning the post of Head of Ready To Wear. Upon his arrival at 60-year-old Bottega Veneta, he announced his mission was to maintain the codes of the house—craftsmanship, quality, and sophistication—while imbuing them with a new perspective and sense of modernity. He has achieved just that. His celebratory collection for Fall 19 was a landmark for the brand and a true fashion statement about Lee's intentions and direction. By incorporating the brand's commitment to quality leathers into the Ready To Wear, and developing a covetable knitwear program, he has ushered Bottega Veneta into a new era.
Q Members were invited to a private event at the Bottega Veneta store on Old Bond Street in early September, where British Vogue's Deputy Editor Sarah Harris presented her favourite pieces from Lee's newly released Fall 19 collection. Of Lee, whom she'd recently interviewed for the October issue of British Vogue—his first official profile—she said, "He's so grounded, so eloquent, and is a perfectionist with an incredible eye for detail." Her preferred bag, the Padded Cassette, has already been coveted across the world and is operating on a pre-order basis. Super fashionable and new, yet utterly timeless and classic, the bag was inspired by the leather interiors of vintage cars and is a fresh take on the brand's signature intrecciato woven leather.
Harris also selected a cosy, brushed wool U-neck sweater, updated with an oversized, detachable curb chain at the neckline. The juxtaposition of the soft and sensual sweater with the tough chain works perfectly. "I'd wear this with high waisted jeans, tucked in a bit at the front," she said. Her favourite dress is a classic satin jersey shirtdress—covered in small mirrored paillettes. "This dress seems so singular," Harris said, "but really there are so many styling options—wear it open over pants, layered over a turtleneck, or simply as is. This is what Daniel is so good at. He's not afraid to do things differently."
Although she was wearing the Padded Bloc Pumps (chicly paired with the A-line padded satin skirt with mixed chain belt), Harris selected the BV Madame kitten heel loafers as her favourite shoe from the collection. The lizard-embossed leather shoes, in Tiffany Blue, have a metal bar detail across the toe and sit atop a flared mini heel with a leather sole, injected with rubber for comfort. "He reinvented an old lady style," Harris says. "He makes you want things you didn't know you wanted."
The palpable energy that Lee has brought to Bottega Veneta garners a sense of excitement that the industry has been craving. The celebration of freedom of self-expression, discretion, sophistication, and understated elegance breathes new life and heralds anticipation not recently seen in fashion. His unique approach is beginning to reshape luxury. He says, "The biggest thing for me about fashion: it's about people. So take that any way you'd like. It can be people in a movie, people in the street. It's a collage of many different influences." We look forward to seeing what's next.
Daniel Lee will present his Spring 2020 Collection for Bottega Veneta on 19th September in Milan.
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