This one perplexed. Thomas Maier wrote in his program notes that he was celebrating “the beauty of individualistic dressing,” but this collection felt more like a hedge. Maier presented individual ideals to be sure, but they read more like capsules strung together rather than a cohesive collection. It was an odd hedge at that, as usually when a designer hedges, he does so with something other than high-impact statement clothes.
These clothes were in your face, often in a manner that felt antithetical to Maier’s refined aesthetic. Will the high-brow woman who, as the company motto boasts, believes that her own initials are enough embrace Seventies geek-chic kookiness — sweater, bow blouse and flares, all in colorful mixed dots? Apart from the obvious, uncharacteristic retro mood and endless circle grids, the news was in the commitment to pants. Maier has always been more of a dress guy, and here he came down decidedly in the other camp.
He then went through a series of ideas, each its own thing, albeit some connected by the dots: an artful phase with bold, abstract strokes splashed across dresses and sweaters; strong-shouldered coats with an Eighties vibe; cool pantsuits and schoolgirl sweater-and-skirt pairings. And there were a few lovely, intricately wrought lace-over-print dresses. These, along with the arty motif, felt more in keeping with what we expect from Maier.
For a designer to go for the unexpected is laudable in effort but not always in effect. The wackier side of Maier’s fall spectrum seems outside the chic realm of the Bottega woman.