Bottega Veneta: Out of the darkness of Berghain and onto the web
So, we finally got to see the latest collection from Bottega Veneta, revealed back in April to a gang of the designers’ pals in Berlin’s most famous nightclub Berghain.
Was it worth the four-month wait? Just about, considering the dark sophistication, arty extravagance and bravura iconoclasm of this collection.
Entitled Salon 02, this fall-winter 2021 collection was shot by Tyrone Lebon, a rare honor seeing as Berghain, a dark temple of industrial techno music, has a famous house policy of only allowing one photographer - Wolfgang Tillmans – to shoot its after-hours guests. Salon 1 was staged in London last autumn. Salon will be staged this fall in Detroit.
Bottega Veneta’s designer Daniel Lee named the collection in reference to an earlier era in fashion when couturiers staged salon shows before small groups of guests. Though the Berlin locale is surely a million miles away from the intimate shows of 1850s Paris when one thinks of fashion salons.
Under Lee, BV has enjoyed a remarkable revival – based on his courageous explosion and exaggeration of the brand’s signature idea – intreccio leather.
Lee worked that idea again throughout this collection – from sci-fi coats and huge totes in metallic finishes worthy of one of Jeff Koons balloon dogs, to dramatic mini-cocktails with giant mop-fringe hips, worn over thigh-high bully-gal boots.
Displaying couture-worthy draping skills, Lee wrapped lasses in divine caramel- and chocolate-hued tops and dresses that wrapped twice around the neck and finished in a tassel. Multiple clutches were finished entirely in leather tassels.
Before the UK-born designer went entirely into overdrive with jumpsuits adorned with thousands of Imperial Roman-purple marabou feathers and outlandishly cool, fake-fur multi-foxtail Yeti coats on several beauties. Like many gals, they emoted in burgundy red lipstick.
Considering the naughty reputation of what goes on the backrooms of Berghain – which they say makes Ramrod in Lower Manhattan look like a tea party – his menswear looked almost prim, even spiritual. From the majestically cut chess-piece felt coats or Stasi spy coats to some ideally judged Austrian gent redingotes. Which, one suspects, Helmut Lang would have instantly recognized.
The boys even got the Jeff Koons treatment with turquoise bubble totes and matching corduroy fatigue pants and jerkins – all in the same hue as the ribbed carpet that covered the floor of Berghain – normally a dank and dirty mess in the former power plant.
Back in April, most people found it willfully eccentric to release images of Daniel’s guests in Berghain, but not the clothes. The probably still think so, seeing how punchy and powerful the actual collection turned out to be.
They would be right.
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