MFW: BOTTEGA VENETA F/W 2014

Tomas Maier never seems to sit still. His hands are always busy, probably folding something: a piece of paper, a napkin, a random swatch of cloth. One of the things that makes Bottega Veneta such an attractive lable is that Maier finds new ways to fold, new methods of layering, and new directions to take fabric every season. For fall, Maier takes what is, for him, a rather dramatic turn into focusing on lines stacked on lines stacked on other lines. Lines are running every conceivable direction this morning and at times he even blurs those lines so one isn’t quite sure what you are seeing.

Unlike his rather dark take on spring, Maier actually brings some color to this collection as well, but he does so on his own terms, folded into his unique style of pleating, avoiding symmetry, and challenging boundaries. So craftily does Maier work his magic that, at first glance, I thought his fifth piece actually had flames on the skirt. Rather, this was just an illusion generated by an absolute brilliant sense of design and craftmanship.

With all this moving about of lines, Maier still manages to keep everything nicely conformed into the package of a feminine curve. While there is some room to some of his solid-color sweaters, he deftly avoids the boxiness that would be so easy with this style of design. Lines wrap around the body rather than sticking out away from it. As a result, this is a very attractive and very wearable line that is appealing both in terms of day wear and formal attire.

Missing this season, almost completely, are any attempts to shape garments by bunching and tying. Previous seasons, this has been a staple that has added volume to many of the pieces. This is a much sleeker looking collection that depends more on natural shaping. In fact, the number of belts in this collection is surprising low.

New this year, though, are a voluminous number of prints, and the vast majority of them seem to contain lots of lines. Maier uses these prints, folding the material in interesting ways and sewing together panels of uneven size and shape, to create visual works of art that challenge the eyes. If there is any concern about this collection it is that he has created such visually attractive garments that one is likely to be caught staring.

Bottegga Veneta broke through the billion dollar mark in revenue last year and with this collection I see absolutely no reason why the label shouldn’t keep growing. This is a fantastic collection well worth one’s consideration.

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