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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Bottega Veneta: Hyper-Modern Handcraft

Suzy Menkes at Milan Fashion Week: Day Four

2 Марта 2015

“Very romantic” said Salma Hayek, holding her hands to her heart over a sparkling sweater, as the last swellings of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf came to a crescendo at the end of the Bottega Veneta show. 

The collection showed a fiery, compelling vision of a womanly body, undulating below sporty clothes that seemed to be patterned graphically with digital techniques. I saw the Autumn 2015 collection as ‘romancing the web’. 

 But that is not what designer Tomas Maier intended. 

“I wanted to play with colour, with print and embroidery, and I wanted to give women pants — that is a departure for the silhouette,” said the designer. 

It was all true. But still, an understated way of describing a silk blouse slithering above a pair of graphic check trousers; or a gleaming Lurex waistcoat illuminating a purple top and bottom half. 

The colours went from blues and greens, through to orange and gold — the gilded effects striking either as a fabric glaze or as knee-high boots. 

If this was all artisan skill and the geometric effects were not done by digital means, Maier must have a steady hand to draw such lines at an angle across a cape, or to create rows of dots on a square skirt. 

This Bottega show seemed perfectly balance between two worlds: the hyper-modernity of a polyurethane fabric melding with the calf; and the handcraft of a needle-punch technique, where yarn is looped through fabric. Maier called it “Byzantine”, referring either to its complexity or the origin of such work. 

To meld, imaginatively, colour, technique and cutting skills is already an achievement. Adding a current of desire to the Bottega Veneta collection made the show exceptional.

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