Following three years at the brand, Lee is departing Bottega after breathing plenty of life into the once unassuming Kering-owned label. He saw immense success with new bags like the popular Cassette and Pouch and wild footwear that included the polarizing Puddle boots.
With his elevated, logoless approach to luxury, Lee managed to bring Bottega into the big leagues, earning appeal amongst a cache of well-dressed celebrities, many of whom traveled the world to its international Salon showcases, even in light of the pandemic.
Lee's aesthetic was so low-key, he even took Bottega off Instagram and all social media at the height of its international relevance.
It worked, though: Bottega went from being a relative non-player in the flighty realm of contemporary luxury to one of the world's hottest brands, boosting sales and scooping ample awards in the process.
“My time at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience,” Lee stated. “I am grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team and I am forever thankful to everyone who was part of creating our vision.”
The announcement comes as a complete surprise, as Bottega Veneta's most recent Salon show only took place two weeks ago in Detroit. According to Bottega itself, Lee's departure is apparently a "joint decision" between Lee and parent company Kering, with the designer's successor to be announced within the next few days.
"He provided Bottega Veneta with a fresh perspective and a new sense of modernity, while remaining respectful of the brand’s 50-year heritage," said Bottega CEO Leo Rongon. "The remarkable growth of the brand over the last three years bears testimony to the success of his creative work."