Everything changes at Bottega Veneta: designer Daniel Lee moves on | Fashion

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Daniel Lee, the designer credited with revitalizing luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta is leaving the brand.

A press release announcing the news said it was a “joint decision to end their collaboration.” But it’s a shock to the fashion industry. Lee, who joined Bottega Veneta in July 2018, quickly made it one of the hottest brands in the world. During his tenure, models had been worn by Rihanna, A $ AP Rocky and Mary J Blige, and accessories, notably the “clutch” bag and “Lido” sandals in braided leather, became much sought after and much imitated. . Sales rose 2.2% to almost € 1.2 billion (£ 1 billion) in 2019 and continued to grow in 2020, despite a 23% drop in the rest of the luxury market. In the third quarter of 2021, sales increased by 8.9% over one year.

Influencer Jessica Wang with the clutch bag at New York Fashion Week in 2019. Photograph: Christian Vierig / Getty Images

The fashion rumor mill has already suggested various reasons behind the split. Lee previously worked at Celine under Phoebe Philo and, with Philo’s own brand making its highly anticipated debut next year, industry insiders believe he could join her. “Welcome to all the theories,” Diet Prada wrote on his Instagram post announcing the news. “Ours? LVMH brought it back to work under the eponymous brand of Phoebe Philo, who has yet to debut, lol.”

Women’s Wear Daily suggests Lee’s work methods were difficult, with many staff leaving Bottega Veneta. He quotes a source as saying, “There’s no denying his talent, but on a personal level, managing relationships is another matter – also given his working hours, often at night. So many people left, it was a revolving door. A presentation in Detroit last month, and the stress of setting it up, may be the event that led Lee to leave the brand.

Models walk the runway for Bottega Veneta's AW20 collection, designed by Lee
Models walk the runway for Bottega Veneta’s AW20 collection, designed by Lee. Photograph: Victor Virgile / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

Teo van den Broeke, style director at GQ, also speculated that work culture could be the culprit. “Did something untoward happen in the spacious workshops of Bottega Veneta’s head office, Via Privata Ercole Marelli in Milan? ” he wrote. “It’s likely we’ll never know, but there’s no doubt that a seismic event has occurred to precipitate such a change at such a speed. “

Lee’s Bottega Veneta had a disruptive approach to communication. Social media accounts, now acquired for luxury brands, were deleted by Bottega Veneta in early 2021. While this has been hailed as radical – and has since been copied by other brands – other hubs have had less than success. Bottega Veneta did not participate in digital fashion shows during the pandemic and has since used invitational salon-style presentations in London, Berlin and Detroit. An after-party in Berlin in April – when the city was locked down – was criticized on social media. “It’s so immoral, we’re in MF lockdown here in Berlin,” influencer Loona Hamilton wrote.

Lee with Mary J Blige in Detroit last month
Lee with Mary J Blige in Detroit last month Photography: Craig Barritt / Getty Images for Bottega Veneta

In the brand’s statement announcing the split, François-Henri Pinault, President of Kering, the luxury group that owns Bottega Veneta, said: “I am very grateful to Daniel for bringing his passion and energy to Bottega Veneta. . His singular vision has made the heritage of the Maison today and put it back at the center of the fashion scene. I want to thank him personally for the unique chapter he wrote in the long history of Bottega Veneta. Lee commented: “My stay at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience. I am grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team and I am eternally grateful to everyone who was involved in creating our vision.

While the statement ends with a note that “a new creative organization for the House will be announced soon,” it’s unclear who will take Lee’s place. Women’s Wear Daily suggests that the brand could promote a member of the design team, like design director Matthieu Blazy. This strategy was employed at Gucci, another Kering brand. Alessandro Michele, who was previously part of the design team, has enjoyed great success since becoming Creative Director in 2015.

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