Daniel Lee’s bestsellers, the pouch bags and the chunky-soled boots were bestsellers for this luxury label. The luxury label has now hired an inhouse designer.
Matthieu Blazy, a fashion designer behind the scenes at luxury brands, is now the latest to be promoted. He has been named the new Bottega Veneta creative director after waiting since last year. This appointment is effective immediately following the announcement last week that Daniel Lee, an English designer, had resigned in the middle a highly successful turnaround. Sales were up and Bottega Veneta was setting the fashion agenda like never before.
Blazy isn’t well-known outside of the fashion industry but he has extensive experience. Blazy, a graduate of La Cambre School of Art and Design, Brussels, was a protege of Raf Simons, who worked at Calvin Klein’s label and on Simons’ own label. He then went on to work for Phoebe Philo at Celine, and later at Bottega Veneta, where he shared responsibilities with Lee.
Blazy may not be used the spotlight, but he has direct experience of the pressures that come with the top job. Under the shroud of anonymity it offered its designers, he headed up Maison Margiela’s ready-to-wear and artisanal line. In 2014, he was exposed by Suzy Mekes, who stated, “You can’t keep such talent secret.”
Blazy’s partner Pieter Mulier is on the same career path. He is the long-serving right-hand man at Raf Simons, and was recently appointed creative director at Alaia.
Fashion bosses used to look for the most prominent names to fill the creative director position. But now, businesses are looking inside when it comes time to start a new chapter.
It’s an approach that has worked well for Kering, the French multinational that owns multiple luxury brands: Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, arguably the world’s most influential designer, for example, started out there designing handbags before working his way up to the top spot.
The similarities in Blazy’s career path and that of his predecessor (think minimalistic, precise minimalism, similar to the Bottega aesthetic) make it unlikely that the new appointment will bring about a major shift for the brand. Insiders don’t expect a revamp of Michele’s scale or proportion.
Fans of Lee’s popular pouch bags and Stomping Tire boots will find more of the same. There is no doubt that Kering values continuity and wants to keep the customers he has acquired over his tenure. This approach has been successful for Saint Laurent, which under Anthony Vaccarello follows a path not unlike the one taken by .Hedi slimane during his house-wide overhaul.
Industry professionals have praised Blazy’s appointment and posted a stream of emojis on their Instagram feeds congratulating him. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times fashion director took to Twitter to show her approval. “It’s time that he [Blazy] got an identity.” She wrote that this was going to be an interesting experience.