Matthieu Blazy is the real deal. It can be challenging living up to a sensational debut, but he did that and then some at Bottega Veneta tonight. To start, he set a fabulous scene, enlisting the 82-year-old Italian design pioneer Gaetano Pesce to create a site-specific installation that included a colorful, swirling poured resin floor and 400 unique chairs. As the crowd filled the space, it had the feel of a real scene. Cicciolina circulated, Erykah Badu posed for pictures, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee chatted with friends, and Pesce soaked it all in from the front row.
Unique is the operative word here. Backstage, Blazy said, “the collection started with meeting Gaetano. I went a lot to visit him in New York and we had a lot of discussions about diversity. He worked on his side and I worked on mine and we did a juxtaposition. The idea was ‘the world in a small room.’ We went full on,” he continued. “The idea was to represent different characters and put them in the landscape of Gaetano.”
In plainer terms, what Blazy seemed to be getting at was the concept of wardrobing. His ambition is not to dress celebrities on the red carpet, though celebrities will surely come. Nor is it to enter the lofty salons of haute couture, though that’s a future possibility too. What Blazy wants to do is dress his clients for every occasion, and aren’t we luckier for it?
Picking up the thread from last season, the opening looks, though they looked like denim, flannel, and cotton tees, were all leather. Modeled by Kate Moss herself, a flannel shirt required 12 layers of prints to achieve the depth of color Blazy was after. “It’s this kind of casual comfort and we put it to an extreme and we call it perverse banality,” he said.
Blazy also revisited the “dynamic” silhouette he established last season, exaggerating the sense of clothes-in-motion by adding what could be described as fins to the back of pant legs. Similarly, the storm flaps on trench coats seemed to have caught a breeze and stayed there. The curving funnel necklines on jackets and shirts gave them a streamlined profile. These are subtle details, but if they’re missable by the uninitiated, they matter a lot to fashion obsessives who watch for such changes. Blazy has those people’s attention.
This was a highly resolved collection, a reminder in a Milan Fashion Week that included some shaky debuts of the importance of experience. Blazy has a lot of it, and it showed in all aspects of this collection, including in the knit jacquard dresses and separates—“highly technical,” he said, “but the results are not technical, they’re emotional”—and in the trio of fringed finale dresses in colors lifted from Pesce. “It’s a new technique where you weave with fringe integrated into the fabric and they’re all knit by hand. That’s also very technical,” he laughed. About those distinctive Pesce chairs—they’ll be sold at Design Miami. We enquired about the price and were quoted low five figures. That’s not officially official, but now you know.