You might not know Daniel Lee’s name yet, but we promise from this day forward, you’ll never forget it. To say the newly installed Creative Director for Bottega Veneta – appointed after Tomas Maier’s transformational 17-year reign – had big shoes to fill would be an understatement. Coming from a background as the director of womenswear at Céline, Lee was determined to completely reboot Bottega Veneta, imprinting his DNA on the brand – while also respecting house codes like the iconic intrecciato weaving technique. Ahead of his Fall/Winter 2019 show at Milan Fashion Week, we wanted to introduce you to his official debut for Bottega Veneta, which appeared in December 2018 for the Pre Fall 2019 season.
With a sudden dearth of fashion for intellectual, thinking women who wanted wardrobes that portrayed status, artistic focus, and grown-up sensuality, Lee’s work at Bottega Veneta is a breath of fresh air. A quick flick through his Pre Fall lookbook will prove why – its instant cool factor is radiantly clear. First, the man clearly has an eye for eccentric, compelling details. Witness the delicate bracelet that encircles the ankle of his duckbill-shaped woven pumps, the intentionally misplaced buttons on coats and blouses, the woven checkerboard of oddly shaped canvas trousers, the spliced and quilted insets, and touches of fringe and intrecciato that sprout everywhere throughout the collection.
Lee’s ingenious method seamlessly fused these desirable details with ample amounts of Italian luxury: massive leather totes that are all but guaranteed “It” bag status, touches of luxe silk and padded Napa leather, gorgeous knits with woven elements, and a sprinkling of handsome gold hardware and chic jewelry to finish it all. It all adds up to a major wow factor, and a rare intersection of smart fashion, louche cool, and aspirational luxury.
Although female designers are few and far between in fashion, we tend to find this level of highly evolved thinking coming from their sector. Clearly, Lee has tapped into that same core, and is delivering exactly what was missing from our present-day wardrobes – what we didn’t even know we wanted until we saw it. This has made us all the more excited for his Fall/Winter 2019 collection at Milan Fashion Week. We wait with bated breath.