MFW: Bottega Veneta S/S 2017

Bottega Veneta S/S 17
Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos

Lauren Hutton walked for Bottega Veneta. Again.

For those of you who just asked who Lauren Hutton is, now might be a good time to have a history lesson. Ms. Hutton was the Gigi Hadid of the mid-1960s. A top model who made her way into acting, not only did Ms. Hutton walk in the first Bottega Veneta show, she was largely responsible for helping to make it popular. The ultimate appearance came in the 1980 film American Gigolo when, opposite a very young Richard Gere, Ms. Hutton tucked a red Bottega Veneta bag under her arm as she wandered through the library. It was that exact same look she referenced this morning wearing a trench coat (originally an Armani in the movie) and that same red clutch tucked under her arm as she came down the runway.

There was more to the show after that, but all anyone is talking about is Ms. Hutton’s appearance.

The reason for such a flashback is that this season marks Bottega Veneta’s 50th anniversary as well as Creative Director Tomas Maier’s 15th year at the house. Having chosen the illustrious and beautiful setting of Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera for the show, the entire presentation, which included both men’s and women’s wear, was a constant look back at many of the brand’s more popular styles.

Among those were a spate of lovely and surprisingly light-weight leather dresses. Maier has reduced the leather to a very thin, almost paper-like, piece of fabric that actually has some movement to it while still holding the look and sheen of leather. Leather was a primary aspect of the house in its earliest years and he treats those memories well while still keeping them viable for a contemporary audience.

There are, of necessity I suppose, a few references to gowns of the late 70s and 80s, but where Maier does best is with the casual dresses that have been a staple for the house across his tenure. These are the pieces that are most lovely, a refined elegance that still looks good 15 or 20 years after the fact, which is a large point of the whole collection. He also brings back almost all the house’s signature bags from over the years, including some of the attache pieces that are quite nice but rarely seen anymore.

If there is a negative anywhere, it is on the men’s side. While the women are showing off those beautiful leather dresses, the men are wearing pants of the same leather that are gathered and tied at the waist much like a trash bag. Granted, I may have missed that silhouette when it first appeared, but I don’t recall it ever having been popular enough to warrant bringing back now.

Everything else is classic Bottega Veneta, which certainly seemed to make the guests at the show quite happy. The fact that Maier sampled the entire 50 years rather than one single era works well right now. These are good looking pieces that demonstrate the timelessness of the brand. At the end of the show, Maier did not take the bow himself, but brought out his entire design team, all 20-something of them, to make the finale walk with him.

What everyone is going to remember, though, is Lauren Hutton. The picture of the day is unquestionably the shot below of Ms. Hutton making the finale walk with the most popular model of this season: Gigi Hadid. If Miss Hadid still looks as good, and is still as viable, at 72 as is Ms. Hutton, she will have done well.

Gigi Hadid and Lauren Hutton for Bottega Veneta S/S 2017
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