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A Medieval Moment

“I was inspired by medieval armor,” said Bottega Veneta’s creative director Tomas Maier, “functionality and the articulation of the elbow, knee and foot.” With the heady days of knights and ladies in mind, Maier set off...

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“I was inspired by medieval armor,” said Bottega Veneta’s creative director Tomas Maier, “functionality and the articulation of the elbow, knee and foot.” With the heady days of knights and ladies in mind, Maier set off on his crusade, segmenting, and thereby softening, bags and boots alike with seams. He likens a metallic python bag to a shield and his softer-than-soft “cashmere suede” bags to a peasant’s simple pouch.

Maier’s collection, however, is hardly for plebes. And bags that will be made in limited editions of 50 — some woven from pheasant feathers or covered with tiny leather alpine flowers or made from pierced crocodile — are just the kind of items that could spark a good old-fashioned joust. Maintaining the organic luxe found in the collection’s accessories, Maier also whipped up shearling coats; a perfect macintosh, which seductively laces up the back, and a curvy deerskin suit with delicately articulated seams.

Meanwhile, Maier’s boots come with armor-like leather plates bound to their fronts or are ruggedly strapped and buckled. The versions boasting the biggest buckles of all, however, are also convertible. “Not every day is a big buckle day,” the designer said, demonstrating the trick. “You have to think of your customer as someone with a brain.”

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