Press notes reminded guests of Bottega Veneta’s founding principle, “When your own initials are enough,” the house’s belief in discretion inherent therein. For spring, that discretion was limited to the famed lack of external signage on the handbags, as creative director Tomas Maier sent out a rhapsody of ruffles, pleats and frills while exploring “the possibilities of materials and volume.” It made for interesting if at times complicated viewing.

Maier has engaged in an on-and-off relationship with hyper-involved constructions for some time. He renewed the romance here, a spring fling of bunching, gathering and asymmetry with pleats and ruffles galore. There were rows of little ruffles and piles of big ruffles, the latter sometimes positioned in back, atop the model’s posterior. It wasn’t frothy or ingénue, as the ruffles were pleated or otherwise structured, and the fabrics, mostly crisp, neutral cottons, delivered a certain urbanity.

Softer looks came in belted dresses with artisanal fringing and a black trapeze charmer that closed the show. Less successful? Those with intense mohair insets, their chic lines trumped by seemingly unresolved surface novelty.

The question it all triggered: How far does the Bottega customer want to stray from the discrete core of Maier’s modernist ethos?

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