Since late 2020, Creative Director Daniel Lee has altered how Bottega Veneta presents its collections. Biannual collections are now referred to as Salons, while Wardrobe defines more commercial pre-season releases.
The change is part of a significant shift in luxury-fashion industry trends, with brands abandoning the traditional seasonal calendar, favouring a more sustainable approach. Last October, Salon 01 – equivalent to Spring/Summer 2021 – presented clean-cut silhouettes and vibrant accessories with high utility to enhance ensembles regardless of the season.
In April 2021, the Italian fashion house revealed Salon 02 at Berghain – one of the world’s most famous nightclubs, officially designated as a cultural institution of Berlin in 2016. Although clubbing is off the table thanks to the pandemic, the trendy (and notoriously exclusive) venue set the perfect tone for the elusively private fashion show.
A small handful of celebrities scored an invitation for a first look, including Virgil Abloh, Stefano Pilati, Skepta, Slowthai, Burna Boy and Honey Dijon. Since then, the collection remained a closely guarded secret for the following five months.
Before now, the greater public caught only glimpses through the fortunate few who got their hands on select pieces, including Beyoncé and Tracee Ellis Ross. The new Salon 02 campaign features Freja Beha Erichsen, Dede Mansro, Fernando Cabral, Takahiro Oda and Yoonmi Sun as models, with photographer Tyrone Lebon.
Creative Director Daniel Lee captures a spirit of duplicity within Salon 02, geared towards Fall/Winter 2021. Optimism and doubt, light and dark, exaggerated volumes, and austere sensibility. The collection seems an allegory for a year defined by contrasting emotions: fear of the virus and hope of the vaccinations.
The 61-look collection mixes high-octane, resplendent outfits with structured looks. In the first half, ensembles range between slick dark suits and dresses with matching shoes and accessories channelling bold attitude. In several garments, bright accents disrupt the monotony of black and neutral shades and offer a segue into bright colours, like dusk breaking into dawn.
Cardinal red, lush emerald, electric teal and sunny yellow are just some of the striking shades that appear through the assemblage. It reads as a personification of Lee’s enthusiasm for the future and a potential return to normalcy.
The everyday styles throughout Salon 02 elevate with intricate details and masterful craftsmanship requiring hours to perfect with exacting precision – staying true to the company’s artistic Venetian roots. Although silhouettes remain rooted in function, they are reborn through an uplifting, whimsical filter.
The collection is a tactile wonder juxtaposing a range of textures. Glittering metal sequins, thick knits, glass embroidery, crystal beading on lurex dresses, lace, ostrich feathers, and leather make appearances throughout the assemblage.
Leather rebirths to look like a well-worn, high-shine latex that fits at home with the hedonistic setting of Berghain. Divergent, unexpected, and daring, the leather coats, jumpsuits and bags beg to be worn on a wild night out on the town. Similarly, other Peek-a-boo styles reveal the skin sensually, inviting appreciation of wandering eyes.
Toscana shearling coats made from luxury lambskin shearling resemble authentic fur, with no harm coming to the sheep. An unusual silhouette with a unique and glamorous edge, Salon 02 translates the charm of the shearling coats onto matching bags for added eccentricity. In Menswear, styles blend with a new level of comfort. Cashmere has evolved to add a patina to the garment and engineered with elastic yarn for improved stretch.
Inflatable styles make a playful statement, while cartoonishly proportioned pieces lend an animated feel. Select pieces inspired by inflated balloons weave together, imitating the intrecciato pattern. It is a circus of decadence in which Lee presides over as ringmaster. He extends a hand to his audience to embrace a world of imagination and endless possibilities. Salon 02 is a breath of fresh air following a year of gloomy practicality. It is a much-needed injection of excitement in these strange times!
(All images: Bottega Veneta)
This story first appeared in Prestige Malaysia’s October 2021 issue. Read the full e-mag for free on Magzter.