In surprising fashion news last week, the Business of Fashion announced that Daniel Lee will be leaving Bottega Veneta. Kering, the group which owns the label, said in a statement that the move was a 'joint decision'. For his part, Lee said: 'My time at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience. I am grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team and I am forever thankful to everyone who was part of creating our vision.'
The house has been swift to name his replacement. Matthieu Blazy, who has served as the brand's ready-to-wear design director since 2020, has been named creative director with immediate effect and will present his first collection in February 2022. The designer has worked for Raf Simons, as well as holding positions at Maison Martin Margiela, Céline and Calvin Klein, where he again worked with Simons.
'Matthieu Blazy is an extraordinarily talented individual, whom I am proud and excited to entrust with the creative helm of our luxury House,' said Leo Rongone, the brand's CEO. 'Bottega Veneta has always been equated with signature craftsmanship and distinctive creativity. Matthieu’s appointment will further enhance the modern relevance of our brand and accelerate our growth, while preserving the values that are at the core of Bottega Veneta.'
When news broke last week, the industry was abuzz. Lee has only been at the helm of Bottega for three years but in that time has taken the Italian fashion house to new heights, resulting in enormous commercial success (not to mention a slew of awards). During his first year there, sales rose 2.2% to nearly €1.2 billion and, against all odds, even grew during the pandemic in 2020 while the much of the luxury market suffered losses.
Lee breathed new life into the label's accessories in particular, with his The Pouch bag being an early hit (he even made clutch bags cool again), quickly followed by the Cassette. Everyone from Rihanna to Hailey Bieber to Victoria Beckham has repeatedly worn Lee's interpretation of Bottega – dubbed 'New Bottega' by many – which involved Lee playing with the proportions of the house's signature weave technique, otherwise known as intrecciato. What quilting is to Chanel, intrecciato is to Bottega.
As we await to see what will become the new signatures under Blazy, one thing is for sure. As Kering chairman François-Henri Pinault said in a statement, Lee pursued a 'singular vision', making 'the House’s heritage relevant for today... [putting] it back to the center of the fashion scene.”