WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
The brands square toes are out, while triangle-toes and neon knitted sneakers are in.
Shoes took a more technical shape for Bottega Veneta’s SS22 collection, but were also present in the form on prints on the ready-to-wear. Images courtesy of Bottega Veneta.
Daniel Lee re-emerged in the fashion scene with Bottega Veneta’s Salon 03 show, held outside the main fashion week circuit, in an intimate show in Detroit.
Lee, who chose to step away from Instagram and the brand’s highly-publicised Milan Fashion Week show for good, picked Detroit for his spring 2022 presentation because the city’s industrial character reminded him of the British industrial city of Leicester, where he grew up. Detroit is also the birthplace of techno music, of which the designer is a self-confessed fanatic.
With techno raves and industrial cityscapes in mind – Detroit is best known as Motor City – Lee took the Bottega Veneta collection into a brand new direction: a far sportier one, packed with an edgier, tougher attitude.
This translated straight into the footwear department, where sneakers made a more prevalent appearance for the first time: they featured extra wide silhouettes, futuristic knitted panels, and criss-cross straps. The most standout pair came in the brand’s now-viral ‘Kelly Green” colour and was paired with a more feminine laser-cut A-line dress, creating a cool contrast.
Bright colours and sporty influences dominated the accessories of the collection. Images courtesy of Bottega Veneta.
The heels in the collection were given the sporty treatment too. There were no more square toes or puffy ‘intrecciato’ leather pumps, instead Lee wanted to “translate trainer technology into high heels” creating triangle-toe heels featuring sporty, towelling fabrics in his signature palette of acid yellows, greens and blues. There were also more evening-appropriate, statement versions that came in faux fur or black paillettes that still retained the same laid-back, sporty vibe.
The Puddle boot was one of the few familiar shapes that returned to the catwalk, blending in with the sneakers and chunky new combat boots that dominated the collection. It was definitely a brave move from the part of Lee to wipe away guaranteed best-sellers like the Lido mules or mesh pumps and move into a completely different new direction. But it might also be a very wise move: Over the last three years Bottega shoes have been flying off the shelves and we might have just reached peak square-toe and peak Lug boot. By offering up a new vision, Bottega is upping its chances of staying relevant and keeping shoe lovers coming back for more.
The signature Puddle boots were set to continue their success into spring, same goes for the bright green colour Bottega Veneta is now known for. Images courtesy of Bottega Veneta.
The neon orange and Kelly green chunky sneakers or new triangle-toe pumps definitely have the same viral potential as the brand’s previous designs. Paired with sporty parkas, laid-back knitted twin-sets and cool double denim ensembles, everything came together to create a fresh look that feels more authentic to Lee and bears less resemblance to his old boss Phoebe Philo, to whom he’s often compared to.
“There is momentum to the collection. It comes from a place of progress. It speaks to a joyful future. American sportswear and workwear is seen through a contemporary, high performance daywear lens. A sense of individualism and freedom is expressed,” he said in the show notes.
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