Bottega Veneta Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear Collection

by Alexander Patino

Tomas Maier’s collections at Bottega Veneta get better and better with every passing season. What he delivered for Spring must be his most considered, worked-over, strategically conceived and luxurious clothes to date. Maier struck a 30s and 40s note, thanks most notably to the strong shoulder silhouette he gave his girls, but its necessary and inherent modernity comes from the technical workmanship, the natural seeming first-rate decoration of the garments, the byproducts of a state of the art atelier. Every piece here was handled with what had to be artistic love and care. Skirts, tops and frocks (and one coat cut like a big stiff tee) all part of the same wardrobe, and somehow, each with a life of its own. The calculation it took to pull a collection like this off requires the talents of a genius. Maeir is certainly one of our masters.

A woman in full, all her facets, when femininity and strength coexist in perfect harmony – that was Maeir’s great conceit, from thought to cloth, that reflected in the pastiches of appliques, snakeskin, embroidery, and embellishment. There were pieces that just boggled the mind with its attention to minuscule but opulent detail. There were vests here that looked like suits of armor. One had a pattern of gold and silver tinsel shorn in what looked like hieroglyphic patterns, that plate encrusted with stones at the borders and grommets just at the side. Even your daytime dress shirt got the special treatment, a batwing top cut in a stiff cotton, encrusted in patterned eggshell beading over embroidered applique. The placket of that top a descending alternating row of white snaps and gunmetal studs.

Every look had its own magic. Sara Blomqvist’s look will be one to be remembered long after the Spring shows are over. There was something brilliant in the way the red top came paneled by wine jet beading on top and a guava colored floral applique right below. To have that same applique, in a buttercream, down the front of the skirt and black tweed, of all things, quite suddenly, enveloping the sides – that’s what fashion dreams are made of. When you realize there’s a cloud of butterflies hovering above her garden bag, well, that’s just heaven.