Brand: Bottega Veneta

Season: Resort 2022

Release Date: Early 2022

Editor's Notes: Daniel Lee has vamoosed Bottega Veneta (and been replaced by a relative nobody already) but the British wunderkind has one final collection launching soon. Wardrobe 03, ostensibly Resort 2022, is a parting gift to fans who found their way into the Bottega fold through Lee's elegantly refined designs.

Released on the heels of Salon 03, which debuted in Detroit on October 22, Wardrobe 03 sees Lee perfecting his vision for the brand — a vision cut short too soon, if you ask me.

No hate to Matthieu Blazy, who's taking Lee's spot, since we haven't seen what he's got in mind just yet.

It's just that I really liked Bottega's direction under Lee: Sure, I'm not exactly the target market — that's more of Kanye and Skepta's terrain — but I liked that the brand eschewed social media and showcased Lee's distinctive designs through artsy Tyrone Lebon campaigns and closed-door runway shows.

Lee even flipped the script on collection names, distinguishing his seasonal fare as Salons and Wardrobes, the former being proper Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections exclusively presented to friends and VIP clientele and the latter being the in-between stuff, often comparatively low-key.

Despite Kering's apparent attempts to bury Lee's work at TK Maxx — Lee reportedly clashed with execs quite often — his creations will live on through social media obsessives who catalogued his work.

Some folks found Lee's Bottega supercilious, sure — including some peers at Highsnobiety — but the social media-free approach felt unassuming to me, lending an earnest air to the ensuing apparel.

Lee's final collection is packed with these kinds of goods. Here, staples are rendered louche and upgraded with luxe, directional touches, like the twill denim stitched with XXL thread, fur patterned with bi-color tessellations, and billowing cargo pants (styled with Lee's signature boxy double-breasted blazer).

Stylistically, it's a far cry from his first, pared-back Bottega Veneta collections, but the cohesion is still there, maintained through balanced (but big) proportions and lush textiles.

Lee had imagination to spare and I really jived with his particular perception of what a luxury label ought to be (from a distance, of course).

If nothing else, Lee's final collection is a worthy final step on a too-short journey, one that I'll be interested in seeing Blazy follow.

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