Fashion’s ‘free spirit’ Mathieu Blazey takes control of Bottega Veneta
While walking around the showroom, Blazey retrieves a bag from the shelf. “You see master craftsmanship,” he says. “There are no seams.” The basket-like weave of this particular bag tapers through a single brass ring to a thick rope-like handle meant to be slung over the shoulder. No two are the same as each one is hand woven. “It’s a luxury,” Blazey says. According to Blazy, flipping this bag over reveals that it was inspired by the Italian cartoon character Calimero.
Its first show, held in February, was heralded as a triumph of traditionalism and innovation. Opening look: A young woman in a white tank top, relaxed-fitting blue jeans and sleek black heels struts down her runway with a Calimero bag slung over her shoulder. The delicately tapered pants were actually made of soft leather, printed with layers of ink for the look of blue jeans. Was this high-concept irony? Or was it her timeless and unpretentious street look, brimming with sexiness and functionality, with luxuries only the wearer knows?
The entire collection shone with a similar duality. On the one hand, there were dazzling and daring flights. Exquisite trousers in supple leather that move like silk. The jacket is cut like a shirt. A mottled wool coat that looks like the terrazzo floor at Milan’s Malpensa airport. A mustache-like extension on a classic skirt. One coat has dynamic crescent shaped sleeves. Another jacket, on the other hand, is rendered plain and simple. (“I’m drawn to the fact that it doesn’t look designed at all,” she says Blazy. “It’s a very well-made jacket. That’s all there is to it.”) The contours of the garment come to life. In preparation, Blasey studied Italian Futurism, especially the work of Umberto Boccioni, and ruminated on Alberto Giacometti’s The Walking Man. “We wanted to not overdesign and be bourgeois from the front, but bang from the side!” he says. “That’s our territory, Silhouette.”
When he took me to his showroom, he showed me his latest innovation. Forays into yellow and dark green – he continues to return to the bag. One called JJ and when I put it on the floor and held the strap he reminded me of walking Jon Jon the other one was helmet inspired and I wear it on my head Instead of hanging on his hand, he poses for sporty power. “It’s a mix of sophisticated and very playful,” Blazey says. His apartment in Milan is a monument to a more personal aesthetic. “It’s an interesting story,” he says. “When I got the job, I looked online for what was on the market and saw this apartment for rent. “I walked in and felt like, ‘I was here 15 years ago when Raf was at Jil Sander.’ It was his place! he took it at once.