Just 48 hours after Creative Director Tomas Maier announced he was stepping down after 17 years at the helm of Bottega Veneta, the company has announced British designer Daniel Lee is set to take over on July 1st. Although relatively unknown outside of the fashion industry, 32 yr old Lee, a graduate of Central Saint Martins, has so far worked along side some of the most outstanding current brands today. After putting in stints at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga & Donna Karen, the designer most recently was Director of Ready-to-Wear at Céline were he began in 2012.
Following Phoebe Philo’s departure late last year, and the appointment of Hedi Slimane, who is tearing the house apart to continue in his inimitable style, Lee would have been out of a job. Meanwhile Kerring, the luxury conglomerate that owns Bottega Veneta, have been appointing some shrewd Creative Directors within its houses in recent years, most notably Alessandro Michele at Gucci & Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga. And after quite public fraught tension with Hedi at Saint Laurent, employing Lee from Céline will go some way to keeping the minimalist understated style of Céline alive once Hedi turns the brand on its head, and bring some fresh vitality to Bottega Veneta in the same way both Michele & Gvasalia have to their houses. “Daniel Lee has a deep understanding of the house’s current challenges both in terms of creation and development.” said Claus Dietrich Lahrs, CEO of Bottega Veneta. “He will bring to Bottega Veneta a new and distinctive creative language that will continue building the house’s success based on the ambitious foundations already developed over recent years.”
Former Creative Director Tomas Maier has laid the foundations for the house in the past 17 years but recent years have seen a steady decline in profits. Maier was known for his strict detailing and rejected out-and-out branding for a more subtle approach.
“I’m both honored and excited to continue the legacy that has been created at Bottega Veneta over the last five decades,” said Lee. “Maintaining the ingrained codes of the House, craftsmanship, quality and sophistication, I look forward to evolving what has gone before, while contributing a new perspective and modernity.” Daniel will start at Bottega Veneta in July with his first collection in September.
New Artistic, Creative & Image Director of Céline, Hedi Slimane, has spoken to Business of Fashion of his plans to introduce the ‘drop’ method when releasing parts of his new collection. The retail strategy is commonly used by highly sought after streetwear labels such as Supreme and includes releasing small portions of his collection every week or so to coincide with his main collection for the brand. The new strategy was revealed in an interview with Business of Fashion which also revealed plans for pop-up stores and small capsules to feature Slimane’s season-less staples such as jeans and casual wear.
Slimane has already announced Célene will be moving into menswear as well as producing fragrances and couture. He is also set to remodel each and every one of the Céline retail stores and owners LVMH are also rumoured to be buying up large retail space in New Yorks upper East side. Business of Fashion notes that although Slimane is very respectful of the brand he doesn’t feel beholden to the minimalist casual luxury vibe created—and beloved among the label’s loyal customers—by former Céline designer Phoebe Philo. If you were into the rockstar look Slimane began at his tenure at Dior Homme and then continued at Saint Laurent, chances are you’ll be quite happy with this new version of Céline. “He is doing exactly what he was hired to do, bringing his own vision to the brand,” the BoF report reads. It is still unknown what Phoebe Philo is set to do next but this will certainly be the end of Phoebe’s Céline and her simple aesthetic praised for being a brand that was instantly recognisable without having to shout.