MILAN – The future of Bottega Veneta lies in continuity.
WWD has learned that the brand’s director of ready-to-wear design, Matthieu Blazy, will succeed Daniel Lee as the brand’s creative director. Blazy will present its first collection for Bottega Veneta in February 2022.
During Lee’s sudden exit last Wednesday, WWD was the first to identify Blazy as a possible internal successor.
“Matthieu Blazy is an extraordinarily talented person, to whom I am proud and delighted to entrust the creative direction of our luxury house,” said Leo Rongone, CEO of the company, in a statement released Monday at the end of the session. “Bottega Veneta has always been synonymous with craftsmanship and distinctive creativity. Matthieu’s appointment will further strengthen the modern relevance of our brand and accelerate our growth, while preserving the values that are at the heart of Bottega Veneta.
François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Bottega-parent Kering, declared that “the very solid foundations, the specific codes and the unique identity of Bottega Veneta allow us to nurture great ambitions for the future of this luxury house. I am convinced that the wealth of experience and culture of Matthieu Blazy will allow him to bring his creative impetus to the task of perpetuating the legacy of Bottega Veneta.
Born in Paris in 1984, Blazy graduated from La Cambre in Brussels, and he began his fashion career as a male designer for Raf Simons.
Blazy joined Bottega Veneta last year.
Kering has a solid track record of promoting creative talent from within, famously plucking Alessandro Michele and Sarah Burton of Gucci and Alexander McQueen design studios, respectively.
From 2016 to 2019, Blazy worked at Calvin Klein as part of the team Simons brought to New York, working on men’s and women’s collections as design director. This circle also included Pieter Mulier, Simons’ longtime number two who carried the title of Creative Director at Calvin Klein and joined Simons for the runway arcs.
Prior to Calvin Klein, BLAZY worked in Celine’s studio under then-designer Phoebe Philo, becoming a senior designer in 2014, and for four years at Maison Margiela, ultimately responsible for her couture line, dubbed Artisanal.
Of French and Belgian nationality, he lives between Antwerp and Milan.
“There is no one else who will be able to take over and interpret the Bottega Veneta brand as a continuation of the recent past,” a Milan-based source said on Blazy’s design skills. The source also expected the designer to improve the men’s category, which is “lagging behind” the women’s division. Blazy was called “respectful and polite, key values today, because sustainability doesn’t just apply to ecology and the environment”.
As reported, sources claim that Lee’s demeanor and work style – he was known to often work late at night – were among the main reasons for his surprise exit, despite the brand’s streak of success, as the designer ran into several people within the company. . This led to a revolving door of craftsmen and executives – and was defined as ‘uncommunicative’.
Earlier this month Lee is directing the latest Bottega Veneta in Detroit, but sources say the stress and drama of the organization took a toll and Kering decided to go their separate ways with Lee due to the tension surrounding this event.
Last Wednesday, Kering said the 35-year-old British designer would be leaving the brand after more than three years, during which he got the label excited with seemingly ubiquitous designs, including woven mules and pillowy clutches. Lee joined the house on July 1, 2018.
A source praised Blazy’s design chops, confident in its ability to continue to grow the brand “without interrupting its growth path.”
In 2020, Bottega Veneta was the only Kering brand for which breakout figures are disclosed to show growth, with sales up 4.8% on a comparable basis despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In the third quarter of 2021, the home’s organic revenue increased 8.9% year-on-year.
Last year, the brand represented 9% of Kering’s sales. Leather goods represent 74% of the total, followed by shoes with 16% and ready-to-wear representing only 7% of turnover.
A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Lee was previously director of ready-to-wear at Celine, owned by rival conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. This follows previous stints at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Donna Karan. He succeeded Tomas Maier, who helped shape and elevate Bottega Veneta during his 17 years with the brand.