Bottega Veneta Women’s And Men’s Spring Summer 2018 collections begin with our perennial starting point: Color. The optimistic palette draws from the Marble Room at Kedleston Hall, a grand Palladian-style country house by British architect Robert Adam: the delicate rose of its walls, the ocean-blue in its frescoes and the rich array of swirling hues in its soaring Corinthian marble columns.
Bottega Veneta Women’s And Men’s Spring Summer 2018
The season’s new venue, Palazzo Archinto, a former residence built between 1830 and 1847—now a school—echoes the neoclassical style in a signature Italian way. “It’s very playful,” says creative director Tomas Maier. “It reflects the mood of the collection.”
A deep sense of contrast defines women’s ready-to-wear. Silhouettes are clean and utilitarian, with echoes of workwear in patch-pocket jackets. “It’s all these easy pieces,” says Mr. Maier. “Even the long dresses are like T-shirts.” The simplicity is juxtaposed with exquisite embellishment. The visually delightful studding of jewels, mirrors and metal eyelets used throughout is labor-intensive, each one painstakingly placed by hand. Elsewhere, fringe is strung with tiny glass beads; exotic skins are used in applique and trim. There are yet more opposing forces in a group of airy shirt-dresses cut in subtly iridescent silk from a storied Italian mill. Other materials include crisp cotton drill and pique, cashmere suede and anaconda.
The lively palette extends to handbags. The BV73, a top-handle bag inspired by a 1973 style found in the archive, is recast in hand-painted python and dappled carrara calf in dahlia, mist and camomile. It’s crafted to be nearly weightless. Another debut is the Palio group, adorned with colorful checkered panels of contrast intrecciato. “Palio is a horse race in Siena with medieval banners and flags,” explains Mr. Maier. The three styles—a Messenger, Tote and Cross-Body—have a signature soft construction, and are highly functional with multiple straps and pockets. The Knot family has been updated with three-dimensional craftsmanship in bags such as the Wing-Tip City Knot, the Spheres Clutch Knot and the Komodo Knot. The Piazza is new in a multicolored ayers patchwork.
Shoes are more item than afterthought. Cut in a kaleidoscopic mix of shiny nappa, suede and velvet, the low-heel d’Orsay styles merge the Palio detail from the handbags with the jewels, studs and eyelets of the ready-to-wear. Each one is more special than the last. Jewelry harkens back to Regno d’Italia when the Veneto region was ruled by Napoleon’s stepson, and Empress Josephine’s style was all the rage. The cuffs, rings, necklaces and earrings are detailed with a technique of enameling over intrecciato engraving, and stones of chalcopyrite and gray cubic zirconia.
Menswear plays it casual. “There’s no tailoring,” says Mr. Maier. “It’s all very sportswear and soft but nothing designed for a workout.” Outerwear includes an oversized trench coat, an oversized rain coat and several blouson jackets. The easy, comfortable top is balanced by tapered pants and a pointy shoe. “It makes for a very precise silhouette,” says Mr. Maier. Those wardrobe essentials turn eccentric in colors like aqua, dahlia and camomile and materials like antique satin, cotton pique, and suede. Details abound. From the subtle intrecciato embroidery inside the sleeve of a blouson to the overt geometric applique of ayers and nappa leather on a buttoned cardigan.
This season, Bottega Veneta celebrates its iconic tagline “When Your Own Initials Are Enough” with an exceptional new personalization program. For women, the Palio Tote and BV73 come with stitched croc or leather letters in a sophisticated tone-on-tone. For men, large weekenders and totes have a bold but clean color-block with a blank band for embossed shadow letters or stitched versions in leather or croc. The ultimate: a lush gray ostrich tote with stitched croc letters. The bags are soft and weightless but roomy. “You can do everything with them,” says Mr. Maier. “Go to work, to the gym. This is your carry-on for the plane next to your roller.” Clever charms allow for yet more personality.
With the warm, welcoming sensibility of a home, the galleries of Palazzo Archinto provide an ideal setting to take in the scope of the entire spring collection. “It’s a big show but it’s very intimate,” says Mr. Maier. “It goes room by room.”