MILAN, JANUARY 17, 2016
by LUKE LEITCH
At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier has been at the vanguard of the now-industry-wide integration of athletic codes into the highest echelons of luxury. But cashmere track pants are now ten-a-penny. So in this collection Maier pushed onwards—and simultaneously upwards and downwards. He said: “It’s about the silhouette. I felt it needed change. All the sportswear-inspired elements that we have been putting in: It’s time to move on. It’s becoming a trend, lots of people are doing that, I don’t need to do it forever.”
This languid rejection of consensus was made plain in an opening movement of black or dark gray suiting, with just one snowflake of white shirting. The jackets were cut low and unvented, to flow to below the buttock. The pants beneath them were neither narrow nor wide: They were long. A low break at the ankle, very slight, acted as subtle pediment for this vertically accentuated silhouette. Still, the suits came, framed by narrow trailing scarves.
Where was the leather? It arrived via a matte zipped tote in a ripe raspberry, barolo red with a mighty black leather parka. Then via an authoritarian leather greatcoat incongruously accented with a twisted cravat. That red, plus a saturated blue and a wine-bottle green were asserted as significant elements of this collection’s color story in coats and leather biker pants zippered at the front of each leg from top to bottom. Two cellophane bonded leather coats glittered with reflected light. Rich checked wools with a miasma of fuzz—Cheviot, the wool aficionado next to me, ventured—were a static of yellow and black. A cashmere suit in loden green was spray-painted to richen its color more deeply. Two male models and one female wore three linen-based velvet suits—in olive, teal-touched turquoise, and purple—whose color wrestled with sundown shadowing of blackness. There were more women’s looks thanks to a sprinkling of complementary imports from Pre-Fall. Muted check jackets and check-collared cabans augured the arrival of two needle-punched check coats that were a seamless collage of softly complementary right angles. The real emphasis of the collection though was on the vertical. You’ll need to be tall and lean to wear those suits to the maximum effect; when you do you’ll look even taller and leaner. We shorties can just look on and admire—and then buy a caban.