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After the end-of-year Fashion Awards acclaim and endorsements from BTS, Rihanna, and your favourite fashion insiders, all eyes were on Bottega Veneta for its autumn/winter 20 show back in February. Daniel Lee and his third catwalk collection for the Vicenza-born heritage house rose to the occasion.
“I was thinking about how fashion can transport you to a different space, how we could transform this very anonymous and very bland space into something very beautiful,” the Bradford-born creative director explained after a show which saw an optical white space transform into the Palladian Gardens through projections. Six months on and deep into an everyday reality-altering global pandemic, the collection’s power to transport is just as powerful, if not more so.
From the moment he took the helm at Bottega Veneta in 2018, Daniel has reflected and refracted the image of the house to create the luxury brand of now. One of his first acts was to blow up the intrecciato woven handbags – a staple of the brand since it was founded in 1966 – to create an instant, unmissable hit. The square toed leather slides with the oversized basket-weave intrecciato soon followed, as did the It Bag of today, the soft and squishy American Gigolo-inspired pouch that seemingly shrugged off both the house’s signature and logomania in one chic move. With every considered yet playful move, the past is reimagined while tradition is tweaked and toyed with. Through his distorting, ever-revolving kaleidoscopic lens a familiar luxury quickly becomes otherworldly, yet wearable. For autumn/winter 20, he continued to define what modern luxury should be? Throughout, he demonstrated an evolved elegance that had comfort at its core.
“We were thinking a lot about movement and we really wanted to do something that felt in motion, like the fringing and this elongated silhouette that clings,” Daniel told us when asked about the second-skin nature of the collection. To achieve this “poetry in motion”, classic fabrics were evolved with stretch as pieces effortlessly danced between formal and casual. “It's about things that make you feel very elegant but also more comfortable,” he continued.
While LN-CC saw the designs in motion on the Milanese catwalk, we wanted to put them to the test as the collections launched online. So, we invited artistic director, dancer and choreographer Kennedy Junior Muntanga to move in and around the LN-CC studio space as mixed medium artist Amy Douglas Morris documented it. As other shoots happened around them, the pair worked on exercises to specific parts of Ommetis’ URF Radio playlist. As the Ndola-born, Leeds-based dancer moved, the collection followed. “We can all learn to be a bit more in touch with our bodies, like Kennedy is in harmony with his,” Amy told us as she shared her DV cam-shot, Inkjet print-manipulated collage. All the better if we can learn while dressed in full-look Bottega Veneta.
Directed by Amy Douglas Morris.
Choreography and dancing by Kennedy Junior Muntanga.
Styling by Stephanie Aelbrecht. Music taken from Angel Hunt
and Lou Venturini’s Greenbelt album.