how bottega veneta is reinventing itself for the 21st century
Celebrating a new dawn at Bottega Veneta, i-D Editor-in-Chief Alastair McKimm and photographer Amy Troost explore reinvention by returning to the original i-D straight up.
New beginnings are exciting and terrifying in equal measure. The thrill and the mystery of the unknown. A chance for reinvention and reimagining, a moment to find some new creative breathing space. The most exciting new beginning in fashion at the moment might be Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta, a designer ascending from a succession of behind the scenes roles to become the brand’s new Creative Director. The young creative wunderkind stepping out of the shadows and out under the full glare of the catwalk spotlights for the first time. It’s been thrilling to see how he has imbued new life and vision into the label.
Daniel’s appointment at Bottega Veneta maybe came out of leftfield for some, for those more accustomed to fashion’s usual game of big name musical chairs. Yet Lee has proven, in just under a year in his role as Creative Director, an innovative and inspired choice, a designer with an uncanny and natural talent that seems incredibly suited for the position of steering the heritage of a house towards continuing and renewed relevance for the new world of luxury fashion. A luxury fashion with no interest in tired old bourgeois idioms, but instead wants to be individual, unique, bold.
Bottega Veneta is a brand with over a half a century of savoir faire to its name, an Italian dedication to craft and history, an unparalleled ability to transform and work with leather. Daniel is, more or less, a millennial, a 33-year-old, tasked with mixing modernity with tradition, pushing Bottega’s heritage into a bright new future. The combination is heady, has worked wonders.
The house’s first collections under the new creative direction have magnificently set his stall out. Lee has very quickly breathed new life into his house. The debut pre-fall 19 collection was full of sculptural leather and knitwear, yet it was light and fluid too, rooted in subtle, slightly off details. Intrecciato leatherwork patterns are blown out and huge, necklines were skewed, muted earthy colours clashed against bright blues and yellows. In one fell swoop it fleshed out the new Bottega man and woman — one interested in heritage and history, the quality of luxury, but also someone not interested in the same old tired formulas. Someone heeding those old conservative design notions — it was about individualism, confidence, freshness, self-expression.
All things of course you would associate with i-D. Undergoing too, its own kind of rebirth, as Alastair McKimm starts as the 40-year-old magazine’s new Editor-in-Chief. i-D, like Bottega Veneta, is a venerable, old, fashion institution these days, but, like Bottega Veneta, one reinventing itself. Although of course, to move forward you need to look back, you need to know your history in order to navigate the present and confidently craft a new future. Which is why for this shoot Alastair McKimm and Amy Troost have selected twelve new faces but taken influence from the very first issue of i-D and its series of iconic straight ups, which captured the street style stars of the early eighties.
“Never compare yourself to anyone. Your success comes when it’s meant to.”
“The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me for having success in fashion is to be brave and take care of your money.”
“My generation will be remembered as the generation who tried to save the world.”
“The best piece of advice I've ever been given is get used to hearing ‘No’. You're going to hear the word no a thousand times, but it only takes one yes to make it all worth it.”
“My earliest fashion memory was dressing up as a kid, using my imagination to create characters through what I would wear. I still do that today. It’s about being myself, it’s about not caring what anyone else thinks.”
“I want to be persistent and never give up!”
“The youth is awakening. It makes me so hopeful.”
“The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to stay humble. My greatest ambition is to make my parents proud.”
“My grandmother told me 'If you can fly, fly higher.' I live by that. You can always do more. You never reach the finish line.”
“My family makes me hopeful about the future, they keep me pushing, keep me smiling, keep me optimistic.”
“When am I at my strongest? I’m always strong!”
“My greatest ambition is to help others to fearlessly express themselves.”
Text Felix Petty
Photographer Amy Troost, M.A.P
Editor-in-Chief and Stylist Alastair McKimm, Art and Commerce
Casting Director Samuel Ellis Scheinman, DM casting
DOP Jack Webb, Image Partners
Hair Duffy @ Streeters
MUA Kanako @ Streeters
Nails Tracylee @ BriWinters
Prop Stylist Kadu Lennox @ Frank Reps
AC Derek Nelson
DIT Kazim Karais
Sound recordist Turner Curran
Producer Christina Barrett
Executive Creative Director Georgina Bacchus
Business Director Hannah Metcalfe
Account manager Tilly Donohoe
Styling assistants Madison Matusich, Emily Aldrich
Hair assistants Lukas Tralmer, Juli Akaneya
MU assistants Michaela Bosch, Kuma, Tomoyo Shionome
PA Moses Edouard
Digital Tech Alonzo Maciel
Photo Assistants Henry Lopez, Darren Hall
Lighting Assistant Lance Cheshire, Braulio Moz
ANISHA SANDHU and NATALIA MONTERO, TheSocietyManagement. CHAI MAXIMUS and NELLA NGINGO, DNA Models. LILLA MOLNAR and ANARCIUS JEAN, IMG. ELAINE KWOK, D1 Models. ANDRE and EMILE, One Management. CHRISTOPHER FERNANDEZ, RedNYC Models. Hayden, Ford Models. JABALI SANDIFORD, NewYork Models.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.