“Very little was known about Daniel Lee when Kering announced in mid-June that the 32-year-old Brit was taking over [for longstanding director Tomas Maier] as creative director at Bottega Veneta,” Vogue’s Nicole Phelps wrote recently. What we do know is this: before being appointed to the helm of Bottega Veneta – where he is expected to release his debut collection, Pre-Fall 2019 this month, before showing his first full body of work for Fall/Winter 2019 in February – he served as director of ready-to-wear design at Celine (under Phoebe Philo), and he has held “a string of posts at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, and Donna Karan.”
We also know, that Bottega desperately needs a fix. One a core asset in Kering’s arsenal of brands, “for much of his tenure, [Tomas] Maier had enjoyed significant sales success with his elegant and understated designs, which targeted the uppermost bracket of the luxury consumer market,” the New York Times revealed this summer. “However, in recent years that growth had waned … with revenues at the brand, primarily known for its intricately woven Intrecciato leather bags, declined by 9 percent in the last two years, slipping to €1.2 billion, or $1.4 billion, in 2017.”
An interview with Vogue, Lee’s first in his current role, has helped to shed some light on the social media-less 30-something and his intentions for one of the most stalwart brands under Kering’s umbrella. It has also served to further comparison to his former boss, Philo, who was rumored to be a possible contender for the role, thanks to his seemingly quiet design philosophy and penchant for understated elegant, which very well might ring some bells for fans of Philo’s work.
A few key excerpts from that interview, which can be found in full here, are as follows …
On Bottega Veneta: “What Bottega represents is an idea of true luxury that I really don’t feel is so much around right now. We speak about quality, a timeless elegance, an almost quiet confidence, which I think is the opposite to all the noise we see around us.”
On his personal aesthetic and inspirations: “Bottega, the way I look at it, is very much about the project and the work. It’s not about me as a person. I think we really work very much as a team here. The biggest thing for me about fashion: It’s about people. So take that any way you’d like. It can be people in a movie, people in the street. It’s a collage of many different influences.”
On what he wants to bring to Bottega: “For me, I want to add a big culture around the ready-to-wear. I really think that’s where it starts, in terms of building a vision and building a brand. That’s my main focus. Obviously the upcoming pre-collection and the [Fall 2019] show is very much led around the ready-to-wear.”
On working with his Bottega Veneta team: “Everything we do is done together, a heightened aspirational reality, to just make some really great clothes, for people to live in and love and really enjoy.”