The dress was of a plain, modest texture, but brightened up with sparkling sequins, as the model walked on flat sandals down the runway at the Bottega Veneta
In one of the most exquisitely executed and beautifully presented shows of the Summer 2015 season so far, Tomas Maier, Bottega’s designer, created with athletic beauty a moment of calm in the storm of Milan’s rowdy back-to-the-seventies shows.
“I was thinking of dance, the body — grace, exercise, posture,” said Maier backstage, stretching out his own body, head held high in an elegant pose.
On stage, the models looked like they might be preparing for a ballet lesson — a pink bodysuit, say, worn with a long cardigan. There might be a boyish sweater with plain pants; or a blouse with a flourish of fabric at the neck that celebrated womanhood, but not in a fussy way.
The colours were mostly light beige, pale blue or blush pink, and on humble material. But plain, mid-calf dresses were embellished with patent leather strips and clusters of paillettes. This poor-to-rich effect was infinitely subtle, with the real luxury expressed in the beautiful make of clothes that moved with the body.
Then, just when the show seemed to be settling into a drowsy kind of beauty… Puff! Out came gingham – a fashion story this season – but here appearing as a complex pattern of plain and checks. The effect was modular and graphic, with just a sliver of sweet girlishness.
Few male designers have succeeded in getting under the skin of the 21st-century woman like Maier. Alber Elbaz at Lanvin is probably the only other contender. At Bottega, there was not a single piece that seemed ill-considered or out of place — and perfection is an immense achievement.