STRANGE ENCOUNTERS: BOTTEGA VENETA UNCOVERS THE ELEGANT BEAUTY OF SURPRISE
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CHIC? WHEN DOES IT START AND HOW DOES IT EVOLVE AS WE TRAVEL THROUGH TIME?
It opens with the morning ritual, the joyful pleasure of dressing up and gaining the confidence of whoever the wearer wants to be; a pinstriped office worker becomes a sartorially obsessed industrialist and the shy ingenue emerges as a bombshell in sensual tailoring. Stepping out from the cloisters of their home, they join a cast of archetypes; a parade of priests and playboys, sleepwalkers and streetwalkers, with sirens of the screen and the ancient seas in an odyssey of metamorphosis. Stood shoulder-to-shoulder their identities are mutable and moving, transforming through personal experience or the passing gaze of another.
Perspective changes all, and from creative director Matthieu Blazy’s viewing platform, past, present and future are conflated and celebrated in the final chapter of his ‘Italia’ trilogy; a collection that draws inspiration from Italy’s rich and varied art history. From ancient Roman bronze runners dating to 1BC; to Umberto Boccioni’s dynamic deconstruction of solid mass in the early 20th century, the Winter 23 collection draws on both mythology of antiquity and Futurism’s revolutionary aesthetic to create a procession of wearable art. In Bottega Veneta’s expert hands, early silhouettes fulfil fantastical promises, craft is reconfigured as innovation, and historical forms are revived to be reinvented.
“A parade: The alchemy of the street is in the difference; who will you meet? What is around the corner? Who will amaze you? It is the surprise of the encounter that has importance.” - Matthieu Blazy
Scooped, boned, split and suspended, Winter 23 unfolds like a surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse; chimerical creatures emerge, not from the seams of folded paper, but through the leather knit of Intreccio loafers, or the sinuous curves of a voluminous wool blazer cut from ‘Boccioni’ silhouettes. Inspired by but not limited to Futurism’s shape of things to come, Bottega Venta rejects the art movement's exceptionally vehement denunciation of the past, choosing instead to celebrate national history with a strange carnival that harmonises a cacophony of techniques, motifs characters and creatures from the past. In this parade, everyone is invited to enjoy clean tailoring and sophisticated layers, rejoicing in the birth of a new mythology as Matthieu Blazy marks the ending of one part of the Bottega Veneta story, and the beginning of another.