SURREALISM is defined by the balance of seeing the rational through the creation, by an artist through unexpected, maybe even unconventional way. So, when Matthieu Blazy presented Bottega Veneta’s autumn-winter 2023 collection and we were presented with a parade of looks that would deceive our eyes as we mistakenly guessed the wrong material choice, it became clear that Blazy’s vision for luxury is far more complex than what meets the eye.
“A parade: the alchemy of the street is in the difference; who will you meet? What is around the corner? Who will amaze you? It is the surprise of the encounter that has importance,” described the creative director in his show notes.
Marking an end to his trilogy of collections since his appointment, each season he has managed to explore and dissect different characters found on our streets whilst simultaneously threading the past, present and future of the brand’s motifs through each look.
Considered an odyssey of archetypes, Blazy makes an electrifying point of making the ordinary extraordinary – here is where surrealism enters the collection. Beginning with questioning the origins of chicness, the opening looks have us arrive in the morning of the day, seeing the bombshell look of a white shirt and bed socks walk the runway before a more industrial set of grey flannel pyjamas follow.
But, here is where we need to pause. The socks are knitted leather shoes, and the full grey piece set is made from nappa leather. Looking closer you still are completely deceived by this revelation, questioning whether its magic and left with the answer that its the power of Bottega Veneta’s savoir-faire.
Innovation is everything with Blazy as he passes on the privilege of luxury not to the admirer or the person that sees you walking past, but to the wearer – and this exchange of power is ultimately what high-fashion should be about.
As the collection unravelled, new configurations of volumes, techniques and codes became more and more evident. Denim is of course not denim but leather, new layers of skins were seen as cascading layers of feathers and scales brought coats to life, and volumes were tweaked as hips became wider, waists were cinched and shoulders were padded.
Many designers look for viral moments amongst this hectic back-to-back schedule, but Blazy has managed to speak louder than anyone else so far about the importance of consistency.
It was a collection built on detail; a fine-tuned offering of heritage and contemporary taste giving old BV clients exactly what they want, whilst inviting a new era of consumers to come and experience how surrealism may be the greatest luxury you can afford.
by Imogen Clark