The difference between polite clapping and genuine applause was asloud as everat the end of the fall Bottega Veneta show, Tomas Maier’sbest yet. Doublepoints for efficiency — by sending out dual exits, 36total, the show clocked inat record time. The clothes, too, exudedprecision and discipline, with theirlean lines and narrow fit. Thefirst group featured tailored jackets and skirtsuits cut straight,fastened in a tight line of covered buttons with neatshoulders andslightly nipped waists. Combined with a brooding palette of black,navyand maroon, Maier engaged in chic austerity that felt on the money fortheseason.

It was controlled but never hard, as the designerinfused the lookwith enticing depth through rich fabrics anddecoration without forcing hisartsy whims, as he’s been known to do. Ameasured approach to statement jewelry,such as big brooches placed atthe neck of wool sheaths and pendants worn with acouple of greatwaffled sweaters, brought the right touch of elegance tootherwisespare daywear. And for evening, velvet cocktail dresses and gowns withshredded chiffon on shoulders, peplums and tiered skirts were darklyseductive.

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