Street style — not from the extravagant, attention-seeking species outside fashion shows, but from the ordinary, arresting-looking people you might come across in your neighborhood — just got a major stamp of approval from Bottega Veneta’s Matthieu Blazy, whose stature in the fashion landscape is on a meteoric trajectory.
He staged another dazzling show on Saturday night, by far the best in Milan, chockablock with beautiful, inventive clothes that proved chic comes in multiple variations.
“It’s an odyssey of characters,” Blazy said backstage. “I was very interested in parades, carnivals, where everyone walks in the same direction, and it’s a celebration.
“From Day One, we decided not to edit the collection: We kept on adding, adding, adding characters,” he added.
The designer also posed the questions, “When do we start to be chic? In the morning at home, are we already chic half-dressed? Are we chic when we are wearing something that is almost costume-like?”
Chez Bottega Veneta, the answer is a resounding yes, and yes, given a fall show peopled by layabouts, mermaids, Ladies Who Lunch, men of the cloth, women of the night and more — all looking sensational.
Blazy opened his coed display with model Paola Manes in a filmy white slipdress and knitted leather boots that resembled tall sport socks, quickly followed by a man in a pin-striped leather nightshirt — evidently a financier who takes his work to bed.
The characters came fast and furious, and you struggled to drink in the delicious variety of silhouettes, the luxurious materials and the interesting design details.
For her, there were fluttering, cape-topped dresses; feather-fronted corset numbers, and an LBD to smoke all others with its slit skirt, cowl back and an asymmetric swoop in front.
For him, there were power suits with sleek stirrup pants, and for not-so-powerful days, a fuzzy, bathrobe-like coat or a swaddling, floor-length sweater — pants and briefcase optional.
Male and female models alike stormed out in fish-scale mock-neck sweaters and majestic coats with broad shoulders and whittled waists — superhero outerwear whether in croc-stamped leather or creamy Persian lamb.
The accessories were similarly striking and diverse, from woven leather thigh-high boots to iridescent, jellyfish-like clogs; from egg-shaped evening bags to woven leather pails gripped over the shoulder with a rope, or a length of articulated silver branches.
Blazy is clearly positioning Bottega Veneta as a cultural brand, inviting guests to view three exceptional sculptures on loan from museums and installed on the runway — two naked Roman runners in bronze circa 1 B.C., and Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” from 1913.
Attendees were then invited to plant their bottoms on Superleggera chairs by Gio Ponti, weightless wonders in lacquered ash and cane designed in 1957, and by far the most comfortable seating this Milan season.
The only jarring moment in the evening came when BTS band member RM arrived inside the show venue, prompting a stampede that almost toppled statues that have endured more than two millennia.
Blazy said this fall collection closes his “Italia” trilogy of shows, and will cue up a new story. You could sum up his tenure so far with a BTS song that’s clocked more than 1.6 billion views on YouTube — “Dynamite.”