For years, the fashion world whispered about a young designer called Matthieu Blazy, alumnus of Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Celine (under Phoebe Philo) and Calvin Klein (with Simons). He was, in effect, the most hyped open secret in the industry whom no one had ever heard of outside. Every time a big job came up, his name would get mentioned, but he stayed behind the scenes.
Until November, at least, when news broke that Daniel Lee, the British designer who had reinvigorated Bottega Veneta, was leaving after less than four years – and would be replaced by Blazy, who had been his second-in-command.
That wasn’t just stepping into the spotlight, it was jumping smack into its red hot centre.
After all, Lee had transformed the storied, somewhat staid, Italian brand into a harbinger of cool. He had made everyone obsessed with a very specific zingy, Pop Art shade of green. He had won all sorts of awards. And he had departed under particularly murky circumstances, leaving behind a fog of speculation – and that’s not even taking COVID and geopolitics into consideration.
Yet, said Blazy backstage on Friday (Feb 25) after his first show, “I just felt it was time.”
So what did he do? He shrugged off the expectations, and brought Bottega Veneta home. In more ways than one.
After a trio of far-flung pandemic-period shows by Lee in London, Berlin and, most unexpectedly, Detroit, Blazy chose to return to Milan, where the company is based, to unveil his line. And not just Milan, but a decrepit theatre that will be another Bottega headquarters in the city.