Bottega Veneta Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: Making the Ordinary ‘Monumental’

Matthieu Blazy did it again, electrifying Milan Fashion Week with a Bottega Veneta show on Saturday night that delivered gasp-inducing chic with nearly every exit.

He had decided to “celebrate the quotidian,” and managed to stir powerful emotions with shirts, coats, dresses and skirts. But what shirts! What coats! What dresses! And what skirts!

“I think there was something beautiful in the idea of making something monumental out of the everyday,” Blazy said backstage, his eyes still brimming with earlier tears.

The French designer has an identifiable hand, and a mastery of draping, whether it’s a one-shoulder top that winds around the body and slithers off one hip: an oversized T-shirt with a scarf-like appendage draped across the throat, or a voluptuous leather coat with a windblown collar that partially stands, partially crumples.

Sometimes the drama came from color, whether it was a saffron-colored suede shirt worn over a white turtleneck and black leather pants, or one of his flaring T-shirt dresses, equal parts olive, rust and white and somehow whorled together so seams jut out where the colors meet, tacked with hardware that resembled hair bobbles.

He summoned a plethora of moods and attitudes from the lowly shirt; here tucked and billowing, the collar set at a jaunty angle; there loose and untucked, etched with pale lines that brought to mind the contemplative pencil paintings of Agnes Martin. For men, he blew up a black shirt to the scale of a trench coat and propped it on the shoulders. All were sensational.

Since being promoted to the creative helm of Bottega a little over two years ago Blazy has famously played with what he dubbed “perverse banality” in executing very ordinary-looking basics – blue jeans, plaid shirts and gray sweat tops – in supple nubuck, and then charging a small fortune for them.

“Nothing was mimicking anything here. Cotton was cotton,” he clarified backstage.

In this keeping-things-real vein, he added little superfluous decoration — a jeweled neckline on a jersey halter dress here, a busy print of dense scribbles and numbers there — and instead coaxed fireworks from the fabrics themselves. Tops and skirts with fine vertical gills of fabrics flashed from yellow to mango as the models walked, while the finale T-shirt dresses where artfully shredded to symbolize fire and ash.

Blazy’s set of swirling, woodburned floorboards and giant Murano-glass cacti lit from within fed a subliminal narrative about resilience and renewal, reminding us that forests eventually return after fire ravages through them, and that beautiful flowers still manage to bloom in the harshest of deserts.

Almost miraculously, his scarf-point skirts in tie-dyed prints evoked the beauty and horror of flames, as did his show-stopping red column dresses erupting below the knees with jutting, spiky tongues of fabric.

Blazy tells gripping, captivating tales with some of the most sophisticated clothes imaginable, and the moral of the story is that dressing well “brings dignity,” he said. “It’s what make us human.”

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